Sunday, November 2, 2014

It Is Well...

A friend recently introduced me to a worship CD called "You Make Me Brave".  I have been listening to it over and over, especially at night to help me fall asleep.  There is one particular song that I have listened to more times than I can count called, "It is Well", which has brought such peace to my anxious mind and heart and ministered to my soul.

Over the past 3 1/2 months I have walked through one of the hardest seasons of my life.  My husband of 13 years, made an unforeseen decision to walk out on our marriage.  There was no willingness to pursue counseling, no desire whatsoever to salvage our marriage, and yes in time I discovered there was someone else in his life. 

I have never experienced such anguish, grief, heartache, sorrow, and brokenness in my life.  I have spent countless hours on my face weeping, crying and pouring out my heart to the Lord.  But in the process I have been reminded of Gods promises....

He has loved me with an everlasting Love! (Jeremiah 31)
I can find rest in the shadow of the Almighty (Psalm 91)
God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken! (Psalm 62)
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, He rescues those whose spirits are crushed! (Psalm 34)
The Lord Himself will fight for me, I need only to be still! (Exodus 14)
Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength! (Isaiah 40)
The Lord my God is with me wherever I go! (Joshua 1)
God arms me with strength and He makes my way perfect! (Psalm 18)
The Lord will not fail or forsake me! (Deuteronomy 31)
The Lord is my light and my salvation, The Lord is my defense! (Psalm 27)
God will uphold me with His righteous right hand! (Isaiah 41)
When I am weak, then I am strong! (2 Corinthians 12)
The name of the Lord is a strong tower! (Proverbs 18)
Peace He leaves with me; His peace He gives to me! (John 14)
He will never let the righteous fall! (Psalm 55)
My flesh and my heart may fail but God is the strength of my heart & my portion forever! (Psalm 73)
By His wounds we are healed! (Isaiah 53)
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! (Lamentations 3)
I can come boldly before the thrown room of my gracious God.  There I will receive His mercy, and I will find grace to help me when I need it most! (Hebrews 4)
The Lord stands beside me like a mighty warrior!  (Jeremiah 20)
My life is safe in the care of my Lord, secure in His treasure pouch! (1 Samuel 25)
He will make my innocence radiate like the dawn and He delights in every detail of my life! (Psalm 37)
God has good plans for my life! (Jeremiah 29)
Even when I walk through the darkest valley I do not need to be afraid, for He is close beside me! (Psalm 23)
God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind! (2 Timothy 1)
The Lord will rescue those who love Him, He will protect those who trust in His name! (Psalm 91)
His peace will guard my heart and mind as I live in Christ Jesus! (Philippians 4)
His power is absolute and His understanding beyond comprehension! (Psalm 147)
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless! (Isaiah 40)
The Lord lights up my darkness! (Psalm 18)
The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul! (Psalm 19)

Oh I could literally go on and on!  God is good!!  Are you broken?  Do you have immense pain in your life?  Are you going through a grieving season?  I want to tell you there is hope, there is always hope in Christ.  Write out all the verses above and any others that bring you encouragement and feed on these verses all throughout your day (and in the middle of the night if need be).  God can take your sorrow, hopelessness, and brokenness and fill your life with joy, hope, and wholeness! 

"Lord thank you for your love; a love that is unconditional, unwavering, unending, and unrelenting.  You are more than enough.  It is well with my soul!"

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Candida Cleanse - Conclusion

Have you learned a few health tips through this blog series?  I hope so...and I hope you will take and apply them to your day to day life: Add more water (and less sugary drinks), drink a green smoothie in the mornings, reduce refined sugar, and if you have any silver fillings consider getting them replaced!

Today I want to share one final health tip, something that's been a big part of my life for the past 2 years....Running!!!  

Columbia Gorge Marathon!
Ok, I'm sure just hearing that word makes some of you want to "run" all the way to your bedroom and hide under your covers right?!!  You can probably list a million other things you'd rather do than run (or walk).  Running isn't all that fun when you are gasping for breath, your heart is beating a thousand times faster, and you feel like you are going to die...and that's only 2 blocks into your run!!

But here is the got to get off the couch and get moving if you want to be healthy!  Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand.  Running (or whatever you choose to get moving) is going to change your life!  It's not going to be fun...initially.  In fact, it's going to be ALOT of work.  But keep at it, don't give up, set small goals, do it with a friend so you have accountability, and you are going to be amazed with the results!! 

There are so many benefits to running: lose weight, tone muscles, healthy heart, reduce stress, improve mood, burn calories, get outside and enjoy nature, helps fight anxiety/depression, gives you more energy, helps prevent high blood pressure, overall mental health, joint strength & stability, better sleep, develop new friendships, and be able to set personal goals and have satisfaction in accomplishing them.  And remember it doesn't matter how fast or slow you go, you are not in competition with anyone but yourself!

So moving onto week 6 of the Candida Cleanse....

Honestly, 6 weeks or longer is a long time to do any kind of a strict cleanse.  In the midst of this cleanse I have found myself facing a very stressful situation in my life that is entirely out of my control.  I have contemplated multiple times giving up on this cleanse but have kept pressing on...determined to see this through.  However, I made a decision today that it's in my best interest that I do not continue to the full extent at this time.  I will continue with the anti-fungal supplements & probiotics but am going to give myself a little grace in the area of diet.  I have tremendous peace about this decision.  Does this mean I go back to old habits?  Nope!  I am committed to incorporating all that I have learned into my daily diet...with a little allowance for some things I haven't been consuming on the cleanse!

I feel incredibly proud of all the discipline and determination I have exemplified for the past 42 days.  Even beyond this past 6 weeks, this entire past year, has brought about an immense amount of life changing knowledge.  I made a decision to not just settle for having adult acne, digestive issues, headaches, fatigue, and anxiety but to be proactive with my health, get to the root issues going on inside my body, and find healing.  In fact, I have been so inspired by my own journey to health over the past year, that I hope to someday (sooner than later) become a certified holistic nutritional consultant!  I am currently looking into several distance learning programs and praying to see if this is what the Lord has for my life.

I hope my decision to end the cleanse prematurely does not deter anyone from doing this cleanse if you feel that this is something you need to do.  It's a huge commitment and takes a lot of will power and focus...but is worth the sacrifice as you gain back your health and learn so much beneficial information.

Blessings to each of you who have taken the time to read through this blog series!

Here are the links if you missed my previous posts for the Candida Cleanse series: Intro, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, and Week 5.
*I am an affiliate for some of the links included in this blog series, which means, if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a commission.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Candida Cleanse - Week 5

I have met a few families or individuals over the years who didn't/don't consume refined sugar (or if they do it's very little).  I use to wonder two things: why and how??  Why would anyone not want some sweetness in their life and what is wrong with sugar anyways?  I thought they were very "strange" people!  (I use to think runners were crazy too but hey I've joined in on the craziness).  It may have taken me far to long to catch on, but I can honestly now say, "I get it!!"

So, reducing refined sugar, is the little tidbit I want to share this week for improving health.  Refined sugar, an ingredient that you will find in so many foods beyond cookies, candy, and ice cream, is more detrimental than most realize.  There is a very long list of health issues linked to refined sugar....including cancer. 

The average adult in the United States takes in 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, or a whopping 150 pounds a year, while teens pile in 34 teaspoons a day.  The American Heart Association recommends 6 teaspoons of sugar for women and 9 for men (1 teaspoon of sugar has about 4g of sugar). 

I could write an entire blog post on all the ways sugar can and is ruining the health of so many peoples lives, but instead I will provide you with a few good resources: "Toxic Sugar", "141 Reasons Sugar Ruins Your Health", "The Most Toxic Food You Can Eat", "Organic Authority", "Is Sugar Toxic? ".

So my encouragement for anyone who wants to take steps to reduce sugar intake would be to start reading labels.  As much as possible, choose the option which doesn't have added sugar.  Also remember 4 grams = 1 teaspoon of sugar.  If you want to limit your intake to 24 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar per day (for females) then you might want to think twice about that can of soda that contains 43 grams of sugar!! (There is always the option of water!)


I know...but it tastes SOOOOOOOOOOOO good!  Well there are many natural sweeteners that you can use in place of refined sugar such as: stevia, organic raw honey, yacon syrup, maple syrup, organic black strap molasses, coconut palm sugar, dates and organic brown rice syrup.

To watch a great video on overcoming sugar addiction, click here.

Now onto week 5 of the Candida Cleanse...

After doing the spit test 3 days in a row, it was apparent that my spit is still sinking to the bottom.  This is a huge indicator of candida overgrowth and one reason I started doing the candida cleanse in the first place.  It felt a little disappointing but I know it's a process and I am committed to seeing this through to the end.  I have to trust the journey.   

I am starting my 3rd time around on a 16 day anti-fungal rotation.  Once I am finished, I will move onto phase 2 of the cleanse.  So instead of a 6 week cleanse, this might be an 8 week or even 10 week cleanse.  I'm ok with that!  I have moments here and there where I really want to eat something sweet...I will usually make me some Coconut Almond Balls or Coconut flour lemon cake (both candida friendly recipes)

Cheers to health!  Remember it's a process but it starts with one simple change, then another, and another over the course of days, weeks, months, and years.  What change are you going to make today for your health?

Here are the links if you missed my previous posts for the Candida Cleanse series: Intro, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3 and Week 4.
*I am an affiliate for some of the links included in this blog series, which means, if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a commission.

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Candida Cleanse - Week 4

I am writing this blog post from the beautiful Oregon coast.  Enjoying some much needed time away with my girls and parents.  I took a lovely run on the beach this morning, followed by a 1 1/2 hour massage.  It was AMAZING!!

Photo taken from high up on a cliff-Pacific City, OR

This past week I finally had something done that I have been waiting to do for several months now....I had my one and only silver (amalgam) filling removed and replaced with a composite filling.  Amalgam fillings are comprised of 50% mercury.  These fillings are so hazardous to your health because there is a constant supply of mercury vapor making its way from your mouth into your body.  Here is a quote from Mercury Free Now:

"Mercury is the most poisonous, non-radioactive, naturally occurring substance on our planet. There is no safe level of mercury because even one atom of it in your body is doing some harm to it. There is no debate about the toxicity of mercury and every knowledgeable scientist and health professional understands how poisonous mercury is. Yet even today the American Dental Association (ADA) and pro-amalgam dentists who support its insane, logic defying position, continue to say that these fillings are perfectly safe and are not a health hazard."

I received my filling back in the spring of 2011.  I felt like I was talked into something I knew I didn't want in my mouth.  It was in the spring of 2012 that I started battling fatigue, followed by anxiety, adult acne, and some other health issues.  Were these all the result of mercury poisoning from one tiny filling in my mouth?  Maybe not, but I wanted it out once I learned the truth about silver fillings.  You can check out the Mercola, IAOMT, or Dental Wellness website for more info regarding mercury poisoning from silver fillings!

I learned something very important in the midst of researching about having my filling MUST go to a dentist who will follow a very safe protocol for removing the filling WITHOUT exposing themselves or you to breathing or ingesting mercury vapor or particles.  I chose Dr. Williamson of Centerpointe Dental, who follows the IAOMT safety protocol (International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology).  If you have silver fillings that you would like to have removed you can find a dentist in your area who follows the IAOMT safety protocol by clicking here.
This is what my dentist and assistant wore to protect themselves from inhaling any toxic vapors!  You don't see that everyday!

Below is a photo of my mouth.  Up at the top of the photo is the oxygen mask I wore to insure I was breathing in clean air.  The blue sheet is called a "rubber dam" and is a protective measure so that you don't ingest any particles during the removal process.

Everything about my experience with Dr. Williamson was great.  I am so glad to have the filling out!!
Now onto week 4 of my Candida Cleanse....
Today marks 4 weeks since I began this 6-8 week cleanse!  I have to retest my spit over the next 3 days.  This morning there was some slight sinking but definite improvement.  In the case of my saliva still sinking, I continue with my anti-fungal rotation for another 16 days before moving onto phase 2.  In phase 2 I will stop the 4 anti-fungals and switch to a product called Candicid Forte.  I will also switch my probiotic to OrthoBiotic.  There are some other suggestions in the cleanse as well for adding in products to help heal the lining of the gut and additional support for adrenals. 
I am looking forward to being done with this cleanse, but honestly, I will probably stick to eating very similar to this 80% of the time...and the other 20% is room for some special treats and of course my all time favorite...Thai Food (which is known to be high in sugar if eating out).  Also I absolutely can not wait to begin putting a frozen banana back in my smoothie....I am convinced that is what makes a smoothie taste so good!
Here is what a typical day on this cleanse might look like for me:
  • First thing in the morning - drink my sludgy "cocktail" of bentonite clay/food grade diatomaceous earth mixed in water each morning.  Followed by another glass of pure water.
  • 8am - Drink a green smoothie (almond milk, spinach, blueberries, chia seeds, flax seeds, coconut oil, pumpkin seed protein powder, Vitamineral Greens, Gelatin, and some water).  Take my anti-fungal supplement.
  • 10am - This could vary from leftovers, to a few slices of lunch meat (sugar free), to some organic Applewood turkey bacon with some eggs.
  • 12pm - An organic Applewood turkey burger, sweet potato, and some sautéed veggies.  Take my anti-fungal supplement.
  • 2 pm - a handful of Beanitos chips and almonds/cashews
  • 5:30 pm - Brown rice pizza crust (sugar free/yeast free) with organic pizza sauce (sugar free), organic pepperoni (sugar free), spinach, & bell peppers.  Take my anti-fungal supplement.
  • Bedtime - take my probiotics (Saccharomyces Boulardii)
**Notice I specified "sugar free" by many of the foods I listed above.  Sugar is in everything so if you are trying to limit/avoid it you really have to READ LABELS!! 
I am pressing on and entering my 5th week of this cleanse.  Looking forward to sharing with you again next week!
Here are some great videos to check out: 48 second test for candida, Blog talk Radio or The Whole Journey.
Here are the links if you missed my previous posts for the Candida Cleanse series: Intro, Week 1, Week 2, & Week 3.
*I am an affiliate for some of the links included in this blog series, which means, if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a commission.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Candida Cleanse - Week 3

Last week I gave one simple tip for changing and improving your health...drinking more water throughout the day!!  Aim to drink at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces.  So if you weigh 150 pounds, than you would want to aim for 75 ounces of water per day!  I use a Lifefactory glass water bottle to make sure I am getting water even while on the go!
Today I want to give you another very simple way to make small changes in the right direction.  The focus doesn't need to be on what you CAN'T's about simply adding in more of the GOOD stuff and this will eventually push out more of the BAD stuff.   One way to do this is to add in a delicious green smoothie every morning!  And Yes the green color would be from veggies not green skittles!
There are unlimited recipes and ideas when it comes to making a green smoothie.  But here are a few tips:

START WITH THE BASE: Almond Milk, Rice Milk, Coconut Water, Filtered Water, Green Tea (1-2 cups liquid)
CHOOSE YOUR GREENS: Kale, Spinach, Collard Greens, Bok Choy, Beet Greens (1 cup)
CHOOSE YOUR FRUIT: Bananas, Berries, Mango, Pineapple, Apple, Pear, Peach, Melon (1-2 cups, Some frozen fruit is great to help the smoothie to be chilled)
SUPERCHARGE IT: Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, Coconut Oil, Nut Butter, Powdered Greens, Protein Powder, Cinnamon, Spirulina, or Maca Powder (3-4 Tablespoons of combination of them)
MAKE IT SWEETER: Honey, Stevia (1-2 drops), Maple Syrup, Chopped Dates, Coconut Palm Sugar (Amount: whatever your preference, if you have fruit though you won't really need any other sweetener)
If none of the fruit is frozen you can add in some ice cubes!  Blend and enjoy!!  And if you live a very busy life and want to save yourself time in the mornings, add your greens, fruit & vegetables to freezer bags and make enough for your week (or month) in advance!
Pre-Made Smoothies
 So now onto my 3rd week of the Candida Cleanse....
I'm definitely getting into a groove.  I make my green smoothie every morning, which is more greens than fruit/sweet right not incredibly delicious but full of really good things for me!  I am usually eating a small meal/snack every 2-3 hours.  I was having a sweet craving pretty bad one of the days so made some Coconut and Almond No Bake Balls.  The batch made about 8 balls so I stuck them in the fridge so I can have one each day!
And I'm sure you will all be happy to know I am having more regularity, which is so important when doing something like this!  I started adding flax seed to my smoothies in the morning which may be a contributing factor.  I also have been adding in Triphala, which is an Ayurvedic herb for gentle, natural, and effective relief of constipation. 
I have just a little over a week more for PHASE 1 of my cleanse.  I will be doing another spit test to see if there is any improvement.  If so, then I will move onto PHASE 2 and if not I will continue with PHASE 1 for another few weeks. 
I am pressing on and entering my 4th week of this cleanse.  Looking forward to sharing with you again next week!
Here are some great videos to check out: 48 second test for candida, Blog talk Radio or The Whole Journey.
Here are the links if you missed my previous posts for the Candida Cleanse series: Intro, Week 1, & Week 2.
I have added a new feature to my blog: Healthy Shopping!   You will find it as a tab along the top of my page.  There you can find products I use and/or recommend for healthy eating, healthy kitchen, healthy reading, healthy supplements, healthy skin, healthy bathroom, and homeschooling!
*I am an affiliate for some of the links included in this blog series, which means, if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a commission.


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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Candida Cleanse - Week 2

I recently watched a documentary called "Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead".   The movie follows a 310 pound man, Joe Cross, as he commits to only drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice for 60 days.  His goal was to lose 100 pounds, heal his body of a debilitating autoimmune disease, and to wean off a long list of steroids & medication prescriptions.  Joe had been to countless doctors yet found no true help or healing and so he took matters into his own hands.  What he did to take back his health and his life was definitely extreme, but very inspiring!

I have said it before and I will say it again...if you are facing any health issues you need to #1-Pray that God would lead and guide you along and give you wisdom.  #2 - Find a doctor/holistic practitioner that is a right fit and who is doing more than just throwing a prescription your way.  #3-You must be proactive and take responsibility/ownership for your lifestyle, diet, and choices that impact your health.

Making changes, especially to your diet, can drastically improve your health and well-being.  However, it can certainly feel overwhelming.  So I want to challenge you by making one very simple change.... start drinking more water and less sugary sodas, lattes, energy drinks, sweet tea, alcohol, or whatever else you might be drinking.  When you wake up in the morning, drink a glass of water with 1/2 squeezed lemon juice.  Then have a goal to drink at least half your body weight in water each day.  My goal is 75-80 ounces of water each day, which is more like 65% of my body weight.  You want the purest water possible.  We purchased a Berkey water filter and I absolutely love it and can taste a huge difference.  Actually it's not what I's the absence of any taste.
I have just finished up the 2nd week of the Candida Cleanse.  Last week I shared how my blood sugar felt low and I felt "off".  I was questioning whether or not I should move forward with this cleanse.
I evaluated things and knew I was eating plenty, well, and regularly so I made the decision to persevere through the challenges (as there will be struggles, adjusting, and detoxing in any cleanse or diet change).  One addition I made was to add in sweet potatoes, something I hadn't eaten the week prior.  They are one of nature's "perfect foods" and have double the amount of fiber as white potatoes.  They cut sugar cravings and help with that afternoon "crash".  To learn more about sweet potatoes health benefits, check out this page
I would say this second week has been much better than the first in some ways.  I'm not having that  feeling like my blood sugar is low.  So glad for that!  I am feeling tired/fatigue and taking a short afternoon nap most days.  That is one area I am really hoping to see change in....more all around energy.  Also prior to the cleanse I was having 2-3 normal bowel movements every day (which is exactly what we should be having) and lately I am only having 1 each day.  Part of the cleanse regimen is drinking a class of water first thing in the morning with 1tsp food grade diotmacous earth and 1 tsp bentonite clay (I use Zeolite from Health Force), followed by lots and lots of water.  This can definitely cause a person to experience constipation.  You need to make sure you are staying regular so you can flush out the candida & toxins. 
I am pressing on and entering my 3rd week of this cleanse.  Looking forward to sharing with you again next week!
Here are some great videos to check out: 48 second test for candida, Blog talk Radio or The Whole Journey.
Here are the links if you missed my previous posts for the Candida Cleanse series: Intro and Week 1.
I have added a new feature to my blog: Healthy Shopping!   You will find it as a tab along the top of my page.  There you can find products I use and/or recommend for healthy eating, healthy kitchen, healthy reading, healthy supplements, healthy skin, healthy bathroom, and homeschooling!
*I am an affiliate for some of the links included in this blog series, which means, if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a commission.



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Friday, July 11, 2014

Candida Cleanse - Week 1

Last week I ended my post by stating how important it is that we seek the Lord, for His wisdom & guidance, as we strive to figure out the root cause of health issues we are experiencing.  The reality is for any one ailment there are going to be countless different suggestions and protocols on what you should do, take, eat, etc... Many times those messages can be contradictive.  That is where wisdom is so important, because it can be a confusing and overwhelming task trying to know which steps to take, and navigate your way to better health. 

I think one of the areas we need the most wisdom is in choosing the right practitioner.  This can make all the difference in the world.  I can't tell you how many times I have left a doctors visit feeling so discouraged, upset, or in tears.  I didn't feel heard, I didn't sense compassion, and I didn't receive any beneficial help or guidance.  But I did receive a lovely bill in the mail afterwards!  I am now so blessed to have such a kind and caring doctor, who has not only made a difference in my health, but in my oldest daughters as well. 

If you are trying to get to the root problems going on and your doctor just wants to write you a prescription, run for the hills and never return to them! LOL.  There is a time and place for prescription drugs, however, there are so many other things that need to be addressed to treat the root problems going on in your body.  Medications typically just treat the symptoms, come with a long list of side effects, and often the problem is reoccurring.  Look for a holistic/naturopathic doctor, which means they "integrate conventional and alternative therapies to treat a patient on all levels. By treating body, mind and spirit, the physician heals all aspects of the disease, not just the symptoms." (source here)  I know too from experience, that even among holistic doctors, there are some whacks out there.  You have to "interview" them in a sense and make sure they are going to be a right fit for you and your family and that you feel very comfortable with them!! 

Now onto the cleanse....

I have just completed (or should I say survived) my first week on the Candida Cleanse that I chose to do.  This cleanse is not for the wimpy.  It's not a quick fix, packaged in a nice little box, with a small price tag.  It's a huge commitment, time consuming, and costs several hundred dollars.  If you are not use to spending time in the kitchen prepping and preparing meals, you better get use to this new way of life, as you and the kitchen are going to become quite close!!
There are many candida cleanses available, so here is why I chose this particular cleanse: Christa Orecchio, founder of The Whole Journey Candida cleanse, suffered herself from candida for many years.  She was raised on antibiotics and was a sugar/caffeine addict as an adult.  It took her 3 tries to rid her body of candida.  The protocol she followed on her 3rd attempt finally worked and rid her body of the yeast overgrowth.  She has used this same protocol over the past 8 years to help hundreds of her clients.  Candida, is a nasty booger, and you have to attack it on 3 different levels: diet, anti-fungals, and probiotics.  You have to starve the candida (through diet, since it feeds on sugar) and then you have to kill it and get it out of your body (anti-fungals and probiotics).  This particular cleanse addresses all 3 of these areas.  She provides you with a wealth of information including: 5 hours of webinars/powerpoint presentations, menu plans, lots of recipes, remedies for candida cleanse symptoms/issues, frequently asked questions & answers, information on testing your PH levels,  resources for adrenal fatigue, thyroid health, and much more!  Christa literally takes your hand and walks you through the process step by step.  Although you do not get live, face to face support, it's the next best thing!  In my opinion, thus far, it has been worth every penny. 
4 Anti-Fungals I am using.  Olive Leaf, Oil of OreganoGrapefruit Seed Extract, and Pau d'Arco tea.
 It's a 100% commitment for the entire 6-8 weeks of the cleanse.  There is absolutely no room for cheating or caving in to temptation.  If you do, that is 1 step forward and 5 steps backwards...and you DO NOT want that! 
My diet consist of eating 40% organic greens and vegetables and 40% organic meats, fish, and eggs.  Another 10% is for a few low sugar fruits and nuts, which equals 1 green apple or 1 cup berries for example and 1/4 cup nuts or 1 Tbl nut butter.  The last 10% is reserved for complex carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, beans, sweet potatoes.  I'm allowed 3 servings per day, and 1 serving would be 1/2 cup cooked brown rice or 1 medium sweet potato for example.  

The 5 most challenging things so far are: 1) Feeling so limited on what to eat for snacks.  I don't think I realized how much snacking I did throughout the day...until many of those options are taken away.  2) Sometimes I'm having to make one meal for myself and a completely separate meal for my family.  Although I try to combine the two or use a lot of the same ingredients but tweak mine as needed.  3) There are so many details to remember with this cleanse-what you can and can't eat, supplements at different times of the day, drinking enough water, etc...  Thankfully I am a very detailed person and this isn't too big of an issue for me, however, this might feel way too difficult/overwhelming for someone who works full-time outside of the home or doesn't have the personality to do the daily checklist of requirements.  4) Going out to eat...options are pretty limited.  I've turned into that very annoying customer who asks all the questions and has to have foods tailored for my needs (No gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no yeast, no fermented foods, no caffeine, nothing fried, no vinegar, no alcohol, no refined carbs, no high glycemic fruits, shall I go on??? LOL) 5) The biggest challenge I am facing is that my blood sugar feels "off" and I am losing weight.  I am eating every few hours but I am feeling weak and that my body is lacking something it needs to function properly.  I'm also losing weight, which is a great bonus in doing a cleanse like this IF you need to lose weight.  I was at a very ideal and healthy weight and people are beginning to take notice and make comments and I don't like that.  I want to look healthy not sickly.
I keep telling myself this is only a brief moment in time compared to my whole life and it is worth the sacrifice right now!  But I need to make sure that I am staying healthy through all of this and not overdoing it.  Praying about what I need to do.  I need wisdom right now.  Stay tuned next week as I give a recap of how week 2 went! 
If you missed my Intro blog post to the Candida Cleanse you can go here.
*I am an affiliate for some of the links included in this blog series, which means, if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a commission.


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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Candida Cleanse - Intro

On Monday of this week (July 7th), I began my first day of a 6-8 week Candida Cleanse.  I will be writing a weekly update on how things are going.  Hopefully I can provide encouragement for anyone else who is considering doing something like this or simply wanting to make some changes to better your health!

"Candida albicans is a specific strain of yeast that lives in the intestinal tract, which can become problematic when it gets out of balance and overgrows. Candida is opportunistic, meaning that it will grow out of balance if your health or constitution has been weakened, typically by using antibiotics. Because non-organic meat contains antibiotics, many of us are consuming them, unwittingly, on a daily or at least weekly basis.  Antibiotics kill bacteria – both the good and the bad. So whenever antibiotics are used, we need to repopulate the intestinal flora with good bacteria (probiotics). The good bacteria should outweigh the bad so it doesn’t take over and cause problems.  Antibiotics can also thin our mucosal lining, leaving us ill-equipped to wrap up pathogens like parasites and transport them out of the body. This can make us vulnerable to all kinds of foreign invaders, and yeast overgrowth.  Other contributing factors include excessive sugar, coffee, or alcohol consumption, parasitic infections, and chronic stress." (The Whole Journey)

But let me start with a little of my story.....
While in college, in my early twenties, I contracted a horrible parasite known as giardia.  I was absolutely miserable for months and months.  When it was finally diagnosed through a stool sample that I had a parasite, I was put on an antibiotic.  By the end of the week I was a mess, laying on my bathroom floor unable to crawl into bed after massive diarrhea and throwing up.  I did not finish taking the antibiotics after this.  Then in my late twenties/early thirties I got strep throat and again was given antibiotics.  In addition, most of my life I have followed the SAD diet (Standard American Diet).  My diet consisted of top ramen, Doritos, soda pop, Rice-a-Roni, Oreo cookies, pizza, macaroni and cheese, doughnuts, ice cream, sour patch kids, bagels, nachos....I think you get the point!  (P.S. I'm referring to a lot of my own food choices I made as a teen/young mom read this and thought everyone was going to think she fed me horribly as a child! LOL)


All that to say, I don't think my health issues I've been dealing with over the past few years are just accidental or part of getting older.  I have experienced things like severe fatigue, adult acne, night sweats, anxiety, digestion issues/constipation, and at times feeling stressed/overwhelmed with every day life.  There is a saying that has become one of my motto's, "Pay now or pay later".  If we do not make the effort NOW for our health and well being, we will be paying for it later.
 I have come to the realization that one of the greatest contributors to most every ailment, sickness, or disease, stems from an unhealthy gut.  What we put into our bodies truly does ARE what you eat (this also applies to what you put ON your body).  We must view food differently, because it has the potential to bring harm or healing.  Unfortunately over the past 60 years there has been a huge change in our food system from an agricultural system to an industrialized system.  We are eating foods grown in soil depleted of the vital nutrients and minerals our bodies need because they are heavily sprayed with nasty chemicals.  There are so many additives/toxins, we can't even pronounce, listed with the ingredients.  And of course one of the greatest horrors of our time...GMO's (genetically modified foods).  This is why purchasing organic, when possible, is so important!
Then there is the issue of antibiotics being handed out left and right, consuming antibiotics through non-organic meat, processed foods, fast food, and another major factor....artificial and refined sugar (which is in EVERYTHING).  Being apart of a fast paced society has impacted how we eat.  Gone are the days, for so many Americans, of homemade healthy meals.  We want fast, quick, convenient, no prep, and of course CHEAP.  Here is a great 20 minute video to watch regarding the evolution of food, click here.

My main focus, initially, was on healing my skin.  This was the most noticeable of my problems and something I was extremely self-conscious about.  But it didn't take long for me to realize my focus needed to shift, from the external, to healing my body from the inside out.  I began to understand that my acne was my bodies way of telling me there were other things off internally.  I began, with the help of a wonderful and caring naturopathic doctor, to address things like adrenal fatigue, detoxing my liver, healing my gut, balancing my hormones, and cleaning up my diet even more...all of which have made a big improvement in my health & my skin. 

About a year ago, my doctor had me do a stool sample, which overall looked good but did show a low level of candida.  So based on those results and the fact that I'm not experiencing major health issue, I do not believe my body is over burdened by candida.  But I also don't want to go down that road either.  We must be proactive with our health. 

I performed an at home spit test, based on the recommendation of clinical and holistic nutritionist, Christa Orecchio, over at The Whole Journey.  I did this first thing every morning for 6 consecutive days and each time my saliva sunk to the bottom in a cloudy/milky form.  It was after this that I knew, what the next step was in my journey to health.

As I look back over the past year and a half of my life, I can see how the Lord has guided me along, given me wisdom, directed me to the right resources and to those with more knowledge than myself, and shown me the steps I've needed to take.  Most recently the Lord has led me to the place I am now with taking on candida.  Many of the things required for the cleanse have already been in place in my life for sometime now and I give the Lord all the credit for that.  Otherwise this cleanse would be incredibly intense. 
Are you struggling with one or more health issues/symptoms such as: headaches, stomach pain, anxiety, acne, a mental fog, constipation/diarrhea, heartburn, digestive discomfort, or chronic sinus infections?  I know what it's like to want answers, to want to feel normal again, to want your energy back, to want the fogginess to lift, and to want the pain to disappear.  I am not a doctor and don't pretend to be, so obviously the first bit of advice is to be seen by a doctor (holistic or naturopathic is best in my personal opinion).  But the greatest thing you can do is take the time to seek the Lord and ask for Him to impart His wisdom and to direct your steps.
If you need a fresh start with your health, want to figure out the root cause of your symptoms, learn how to use food as the basis for healing, and have an expert walking you through the process than check out: The Whole Journey 6 week eCourse.  You will receive a wealth of information provided by Clinical & Holistic Nutritionist, Christa Orecchio (Whom I absolutely love!!).  This is a pretty expensive investment, but if you are serious about making drastic changes to better your health, you won't regret it!  It's one of those "Pay Now or Pay Later" decisions.

Stay tuned next Monday as I share more details about the cleanse and how things are going!!  Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions!  Click here for week 1.
Here are some great videos to check out: 48 second test for candida, Blog talk Radio or The Whole Journey.
*I am an affiliate for some of the links included in this blog post, which means, if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a commission.


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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Constant and Unchanging

A few weekends ago my family went on a mini road trip to go visit my dear Grandma who lives about 4 hours away.  The moment we pulled up and I started walking into the house from the garage, there was that very familiar smell.  I can't really describe it but it's just the same smell I have recalled since I was little. 

Everything about my grandparents home is exactly the same every time I come for a visit.  The same pictures hanging on the side of the fridge, the same little stuffed animals sitting up on a little toy rocking chair, the same couch, the same TV, the same grandfather clock that chimes all through the night, the same pictures on the walls, the same dishes, and the same joyful Grandma to greet me with a hug and a kiss.  The only thing not the same is that my Grandpa has passed away and his presence is certainly missed.

There is such comfort in the familiar, the unchanging, the constant.  I thrive on those three things.  I love routine, a schedule, things planned out on the calendar, and daily rituals.  But we all know life doesn't always work this way.  Sometimes there are unexpected things that come up, strains in relationships, health issues that arise, a child suddenly feverish, a planned event that gets cancelled, a death in the family, a marriage that feels like it's unraveling at the seams, a child that is leaving for college, oh the list could go on and on.  The ground can feel shaky underneath us and we don't quite know what to hold on to.  We feel like we are losing our bearings.  Or losing sight of what truly matters. 

But just like my sweet Grandma's home being an unchanging place of such comfort...that is our God.  He is unchanging, He is constant, He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  We can always count on Him.  He will never fail us.  His love endures forever.  His grace is always there.  His forgiveness is always available. 

We can find the same peace, joy, hope, strength, truth, forgiveness, healing, love, and comfort every time we open the door to the Lord's house.  I don't know about you but I am so incredibly thankful for one thing in my life that I KNOW won't ever change!   He is who we can hold onto when life gets shaky and He is who we must keep our eyes fixed on, ALWAYS!!



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