35 Days of Favorites: Coconut Oil and Oregano Oil

Hello, everybody! I’m back from a little adventure away over the long weekend, and now I’ve got to catch up on a missed day of favorites!

I thought it would work well to combine the oils. Silly, to have favorite oils, but these two things have actually significantly impacted my health and my wallet, so I think they deserve to be on my list of favorites!

Coconut Oil

I love coconut oil. It can be used for many different things, plus it’s super healthy for you.

Here’s what we use it for in our home:

1) coconut oilCooking – There are actually only two oils which are truly healthy to use when cooking at high temperatures, and coconut oil is one of them. (Grapeseed oil is the other.) I know this makes people feel sad, because we’ve all been told olive oil is awesome, which it is, but only when it’s used without heating it up too much. Olive oil is great for salad dressing, or for tossing cooked vegetables in right before serving, or anything else not involving heat, but as soon as you start using olive oil for cooking, high heat damages the oil, and makes it unhealthy to eat. Sad, but true.

The good news is that coconut oil is great to use for cooking, even with high heat. It does make things taste a little bit like coconut, which I find very delicious, but there are some food combos that don’t go great with coconut, so you might want to have grapeseed oil on hand.

I also substitute coconut oil in any recipe calling for butter, shortening, or any kind of oil.

2) Lotion – Buying lotion made with only natural, healthy ingredients is expensive, but coconut oil works great instead! It’s pretty greasy at first, but it absorbs very quickly.

3) Facial Moisturizer – It feels quite heavy on my face, so using a very small amount is important.

4) Conditioner for Hair – Coconut oil makes hair feel amazing! Very soft and shiny. I haven’t done this often, as it requires washing hair at least twice to get the oil out, but when I have tried it, I loved it. Once again, only use a small amount, and only on the ends of your hair.

*And Costco sells it now! Even Ben was excited about this, because it’s much cheaper there. Good thing, because we go through it pretty quick at our house!

Oregano Oil

Oregano Oil

This stuff is very strong and has a nasty taste, but it WORKS!

We use it whenever we feel a cold coming on. I only got one full-fledged cold this winter, and it was because we had run out of oregano oil, and I’d forgotten to buy more.

Five drops mixed with water, a couple times a day, until you’re feeling good again.

That stuff is amazing. (Amazingly gross, too!) Because it’s so very potent, it’s probably a good idea to check into it before jumping on my oregano oil bandwagon. If you want to give it a try, oregano oil can be found at most health food stores.

There you have it! The two oils you will always find in my house.

Are there any healthy products you would never want to go without?

*My friend just sent me a link to an article about the concerns in buying cheap coconut oil at Costco, so I definitely wanted to pass on the info, as I will be looking into the accuracy of this myself.

Another cheap place to buy coconut oil is Bulk Barn, but I have not researched the quality of it.

We’re thinking of ordering a 5 gallon pail from this site, as it’s much cheaper to buy in bulk, and this one’s been well-researched, and is top quality.

Pursuing Health in a Temporary World

I realize I’ve been blogging a lot about health in the last month or two. This is the last post I need to get out of my system for awhile, I promise!!

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Sometimes, it feels like I spend an awful lot of time pursuing health.


Much of my day is spent cooking healthy foods from scratch, making natural cleaning products, running from one health appointment to the next, exercising regularly, and trying to resist temptation constantly.

yams

I do these things because all of them are helping me feel healthier than I have in many years. But every once in a while, I wonder if I’m wasting my time…

In the end, I don’t get to keep this body, anyway. Pursuing health is chasing something as temporary as material possessions. Is it worth the effort I’m putting into it?

My friend’s husband says he will keep eating the unhealthy food he loves, die sooner, and therefore get to heaven faster than I will. Junk food for a lifetime, and then, eternity.

Either way, we’ll both come to the same end.

But I can’t find it in me to agree with his strategy. Even though I’ve struggled with health issues for many years, I keep seeing this body as a gift, entrusted to me to care for.

I remember reading about how Jim Elliot kept his body in good physical shape, not for his own vanity or pleasure, but because it was his vehicle for getting the message of salvation out to the people living in the jungle. He wanted to be fit to do whatever it took to spread the gospel, and he did not want his body to hinder him.

As I care for my family, I am reminded over and over that this body is all I get for this lifetime. If I want strength, energy, calmness, and the ability to enjoy today fully, I need to care for my “vehicle”.

If I don’t get enough sleep, I am impatient and short-tempered. If I eat pancakes for breakfast, or anything sweet mid-afternoon, it puts me in a horrible mood – I seem to crash, and am unable to cope with the surge of sugar in my body. I never used to notice it, but as I cut out the unhealthy food in my life, I am better able to pinpoint these patterns.

I’ve been told that pain makes people grumpy. Experience tells me this is true.

This body wasn’t made to last forever, but that knowledge drives me to care more for it, rather than abuse it and view it as “disposable”.

I have no idea if making healthier choices will lengthen my life. But I’m going for quality, not quantity. And it doesn’t take much to see how healthy choices are increasing my quality of life.

Sometimes I still wish that all my efforts were producing more of a difference, and I get frustrated with the body I have to work with.

But the verse that continually pops into my mind is, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

I think God cares about health, too. I just finished reading The Maker’s Diet, which was extremely informative and enjoyable. Rubin writes about how the laws given to the Israelites in the desert by God are today being scientifically proven to still produce ultimate health in the human body. The Israelites were extremely advanced in their hygiene at that time, and by following God’s laws, avoided many common types of sickness, just by the foods they ate, and their habits of cleanliness.

If God directed them towards health back then, I think it’s important for us today, too.

He made my body.

He has a plan for my life.

It makes sense to me that He desires this body to function well, so that I can live a full life, for whatever length of time He chooses.

I don’t believe Christians are immune to disease. But I do believe He’s given us a lot more answers to health than we may realize, or choose to act on.

And I do look forward to Heaven, but in the meantime, I want to really do this life. I want to enjoy my family, and see God in nature, and be in deep, meaningful relationships with other people. I want to discover my strengths, and use my gifts, and if there is anything holding me back from enjoying all of this, I do not want it to be something I could have avoided by making better choices.

I want to be a good steward of the gift God’s given me for right now, and when it’s time for Him to call me home, I will gladly trade in this body for whatever He’s got for me up there!

I’ll end up in the same place either way, but I want the journey to be as good as possible!

What do you think – how much is health worth to you? To what lengths are you willing to go to care for your body?

3 Reasons Why This is Not a Food Blog, But I’m Trying Something New…

Today, it is exactly five years since I stopped eating sugar.

smoothie

That seems like kind of a big deal to me, so I decided this would be the perfect day to introduce you to a new little project of mine, which involves food.

I love food. I love eating it, making it, and taking pictures of it.

I love the bright colors of vegetables, or when healthy food looks super appealing, and I really enjoy a plate of food with great presentation. If I had time in this life, I’d be a food stylist.

But I will never have a food blog. For the following reasons:

1) I very rarely make up my own recipes.

I love following other people’s amazing recipes, but I don’t “experiment” in the kitchen. That’s just not my thing.

2) I don’t know anything about food photography.

Although I’m often taking pictures of food, I really don’t know how to do it the way professionals do. I could learn, but it’s not close to the top of my list of priorities right now.

3) I’m interested in too many other things.

While healthy eating is very important to me, and something I’m passionate about, I can’t see myself limiting this blogging hobby to food. I love Jesus, I love my family, I love photography, reading, writing, organizing, simplifying, etc, etc. The list could go on and on. A food blog or even a health blog would feel very limiting.

However.

Despite the fact that I don’t want to write an entire blog about food, I’ve been working on a little surprise for all of you who are interested.

I have been approached by several different people who are curious about the way our family eats. I am often asked questions about how I have navigated the different diet transitions my family has been through, including going gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. (Lots of free…)

Because food intolerances are becoming increasingly common, and healthy eating is on the rise, I have been asked a number of times if I could put together all of the recipes our family uses on a regular basis, as well as any tips for where to find great products, resources, or any other helpful tidbits.

The only qualification I have when it comes to healthy eating is experience. I have read and researched for hours and hours, and I have lived it for five years.

I will never forget that day, five years ago, when my naturopath called me with test results, and her solution to my health problems: a total food makeover.

The day she called me with the results, I was lying flat on the couch, recovering from a surgery which was supposed to treat my infertility issues. I felt about the worst I’ve ever felt, which was probably a good thing, because I was ready to agree to ANYTHING she suggested.

And her suggestion was: No more gluten, dairy, or sugar.

I had no idea what to eat. No idea how to cook. No idea how to survive within the new limitations I’d been given.

The first two weeks were completely terrible. Because I couldn’t eat the very things my body was desperately craving, I felt hungry all  the time. I lay awake at night, thinking about food. I cried a lot.

But I stuck to it, and slowly, things started to change.

Slowly, I found a new normal. And then things went well for a few years.

Until our girls started having too many digestion problems, and Ben and I decided it was time to make some changes in the way our whole family was eating.

So I started all over again. I could feed myself in a healthy way, but it wasn’t appealing for kids.

I’ve spent the last year figuring out how to feed a family in a healthy, appealing way. It is a constant work in progress, as I learn more about what is truly good to eat, and as I discover more recipes.

But it doesn’t stress me out anymore. I enjoy it.

And I don’t ever want to go back to the way we used to eat.

I love what our family eats. I feel truly good about the food I serve. Part of me would love it if our girls could enjoy what “normal” kids eat, but mostly, I’m just thankful for how much healthier we eat because of the food intolerance issues we deal with around here. I have so much left to learn, and many more healthy habits to add to what we’re already doing around here, but I feel that we’re on the right track.

So this is what we’re going to do around here on the blog:

For all of you who have expressed interest in what our family eats, or for anyone who just loves to check out new recipes, and you want some ideas on how to eat gluten-free, dairy-free, or sugar-free, I have decided to add a new page to my blog labelled “Recipes”. I have put together a list of links to all of our favorite recipes, and I will pass it on to you, in an effort to make it easier than it was for me in the beginning.

Also, I am working on a second page which will include all of the resources and health tips I have picked up over the last five years, from the reading I’ve done, and the multitude of healthcare professionals I’ve seen.

What I know, I’ll share!

And...if you have great gluten/dairy/sugar free recipes to pass on, I’d love to have you email those to me, and we’ll share with everybody.

But if you love your wheat and sugar, then by all means, avoid those new pages, and keep coming back for the usual blog stuff! The only thing that will look different are a few new tabs across the top.

And now, I must ask: How many of you out there are with me on this food intolerance adventure?? Any suggestions on how to navigate through all of the obstacles? Any recipes to share?

*Update: I have decided to remove the recipe page from my blog, and to replace it, I have started a Pinterest board with all of the online recipes we use on a regular basis. It is much less time-consuming to keep it updated, and more easily accessible, so I hope you find it enjoyable and useful!:)

Learning

People often ask Anika what she’s learning in homeschool, and she doesn’t answer that question very well. I don’t know if it’s because she doesn’t like talking about school, or if it’s because she doesn’t remember anything she’s learned! With Kaylia around creating a small tornado, I sometimes wonder how good of a learning environment we’ve got going on. She gets into EVERYTHING. No, that’s not true – she has yet to climb the kitchen cupboards!

But she’s fun and cute, and I take pictures of the messes and keep the pages of her scribbles, because someday I’ll miss it!

So the things we’ve been learning? Here’s a list of my favorites, unrelated to school (You can ask Anika about school next time you see her, and see what she says!):

1) Sorting laundry! Dark, white, and pink. We have 3 baskets, and the girls think it’s a game to sort all the dirty clothes. Kaylia hands the clothes to Anika, and Anika throws them into the right basket:

2) Cooking Skills. We got out the play food today, and Anika was extremely creative in her creations. She announced that she was making “Roasted Monkey Biscuits.” I told her that no one would want to eat that, and she whispered, “Don’t tell anyone there’s monkey in them!” She informed me that “they help you get lots of protein!” She also said that they’re what everyone eats in Russia. When Ben told her that they don’t have monkeys in Russia, Anika said, “They get the monkeys from India.” And all of this is said with a straight face, and without missing a beat.

3) Sharing! We’re making progress! Some of you will remember this post. Well, things are looking up! The girls still fight over toys, but there are beautiful moments of sharing, as well! (Thank goodness.) Anika is actually letting Kaylia play with her dolls:

4) Talking! Kaylia is saying more words all the time, but her most recent thing is saying names. This weekend, she finally started saying “Anka”, and her own name has somehow become “Tay-ta”.

She’s also finally started saying “Mommy” in the last few weeks, but it works for a lot of things besides me – “jammies” are “mammies” and “yummy” is “mummy”. You have to listen carefully for the vowels…