What’s Going On With My Body?

These past two weeks have been something. Has anybody felt a shift in their mood or their health? Because I know I sure have.

Some people have said they felt a shift after the eclipse happened, and others have told me it’s because Mercury is in retrograde (I had to look it up). I don’t know if I believe in all of the astrology hoopla, but I know that I do get antsy and feel a hormonal shift with the changing seasons.

About two weeks ago (August 15th to be exact) I started feeling unnecessarily moody and anxious. I couldn’t really place my finger on anything that was different or out of the norm for my daily schedule that I should be stressed about, so I just kind of let it slide without a thought.

But that week my work schedule changed and I went from working 2 days a week to 4 days. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot, but for me it can be mentally tiring. That same week we attended a summer outing for Brendan’s work, and since I don’t always like social gatherings that might have made me feel a little on edge.

Anyway, it was that Thursday night (August 17) that a rash started to appear on my body.

My neck and eyes started itching and I thought it might be an allergic reaction to something. Besides the mild itching and inflammation there were no other symptoms, so Brendan gave me some of his allergy medicine and we went to bed hoping the itch would be gone in the morning.

Well, it didn’t go away and it only got worse as the weekend and week progressed. Friday night I was also fighting an anxiety attack, so that weekend was just a big mess.

The rash ended up spreading all over my body – neck, chest, arms, torso, legs, etc. Thankfully my face stayed clear!

 

This was just the beginning stages of the rash. I didn’t take pictures once it got worse.
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I sent a picture of the rash to my mom, and she thought that it looked like it could be poison ivy. I used to get poison ivy as a kid and there were a couple of times I had to go to the doctor because it spread to my face. But I haven’t had a rash from poison ivy since I was 15, and I couldn’t think of where I would have gotten it from. Besides, this rash looked more like hives to me – small red bumps all over my body, not blisters like I usually get with poison ivy.

If it was an allergic reaction to something, I couldn’t figure out what I would be having a reaction to. As far as I know I’m not allergic to anything, and I hadn’t tried any new foods or used any new health or beauty products.

The only thing that I thought likely to be the culprit was a natural flea/tick spray that we bought for Cheetah (my cat). The only ingredient in the spray I thought might have caused irritation was the sodium sulfate in it. But even that seemed unlikely.

Now, if you know me you know that I avoid going to the doctor at all costs. Like, it has to be a state of emergency for me to willingly go. I just really didn’t want to have sit in a waiting room where I could end up catching something else for hours only to have the doctor tell me that it was poison ivy/hives and have them give me a steroid. While a steroid might have helped by decreasing the inflammation it would have also reduced the activity of my immune system, and I didn’t want to risk catching something else because my immune system was weakened.

So, I set out to do my research on natural holistic ways to cure poison ivy/hives.

On Sunday (August 20th), Brendan and I did a little shopping to get a few things to hopefully help bring healing to my body. Luckily, I’ve been working on stocking my natural medicine cabinet this year and already had a decent amount of things on hand.

I bought the Be Gone Poison Ivy just in case, the Nettle tea to help with allergies, and the Taza chocolate just because 🙂

I tried just about everything for this rash. I used cut up cucumbers to rub on the rash, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, Essential Oils, an oatmeal bath, baking soda, aloe vera gel, homemade calendula salve, etc. And while all of these things helped in their own way, I quickly realized that this rash was going to have to run it’s course.

Soothing Lavender Oatmeal Bath

We did eventually buy some Benadryl for me to take to see if the antihistamine would help. I really didn’t want to take it because the Walmart brand we first looked at had gelatin in it (that was a big no-go) and the Benadryl brand has D&C red no. 27 aluminum lake and other useless synthetic chemicals and dyes in it. But at that point I figured taking a couple of pills wouldn’t do too much damage to my body.

I honestly hate the fact that you can’t easily find medicines that don’t include some kind of chemical or dye in them. I was reading that most of the time D&C red no. 27 aluminum lake is used simply to add color. Do we really need a Benadryl to be bright pink? No, we don’t. And we don’t need to be ingesting aluminum either.

Anyway, I took the Benadryl on Wednesday night (August 23rd) and then again before work on Thursday morning. The Benadryl made me feel drowsy, light headed, and a little dizzy. I felt ‘bleh’ all day.

I showed one of my co-workers my rash (she is getting her Masters in Public Health with a concentration in infectious diseases) because I figured she could give me advice on what it was and if I should go to a doctor or not. She said she thought it looked a lot like a stress rash and said she had had one similar herself.

My rash ended up improving by Friday (August 25th), a week after it had first appeared. The burning inflammation and itching subsided and started to dry up and I started feeling a lot better.

Whether or not the rash was caused by stress, it certainly brought my attention to the fact that I need to be taking care of myself, both physically and mentally.

Even though the rash was a bit painful and inconvenient (especially because I had to wear long sleeves and and jeans at work to cover it up, which irritated it more), I learned a lot about poison ivy, hives, and stress from all of the research that I did. I also learned the importance of being patient and in tune with my body. So I don’t look at this as a bad thing.

While I am thankful for modern medicine and the doctors that we have today, I feel that too many people overuse medicines like antibiotics and steroids. It would be wonderful to see more people taking the time to get to know their body and how it works and responds to the world around it, so that they could better take care of themselves instead of running to the doctor at the first sign of something as simple as a cold.

Here is a more detailed list of some of the items I used to try and bring healing to my rash naturally:

  • Cucumber – I placed these on my eyelids and rubbed them on my arms for a soothing affect.
  • Witch Hazel – I applied Witch Hazel daily all over my body. Witch Hazel is an astringent and is soothing and can promote healing.
  • Tea Tree Oil – My grandma taught me about the amazing benefits of Tea Tree Oil years ago. She always used it to help stop the itch from bug bites. I used this all over my body (sparingly on and near my face), and while it did sting at first it brought great relief from the itching.
  • Lavender Oil – I used this the same way I did the Tea Tree Oil. I liked using the Lavender Oil at night to help me feel more relaxed and at ease at bed time.
  • Raw Apple Cider Vinegar – Seriously, what can’t ACV do?! I applied the Raw ACV with a cotton ball all over my body to help soothe the itch and inflammation and to help draw out toxins. And even though it was a bit strong and smelly, it felt wonderful and took the itch away.
  • Baking Soda – I dissolved baking soda in a bath to help draw out toxins.
  • Oatmeal Bath – I placed some organic oats in a tea towel, tied it up, and let the faucet run over them to create a nice soothing milky bath.
  • Nettle Tea – I don’t know if the tea helped or not, but Nettle is known to help with allergies, so I thought I’d give it a try. Plus, it tastes good!
  • Aloe Vera Gel – Aloe Vera is great for soothing skin and easing inflammation.
  • Cold Compress – During the last days I had the rash they burned more than itched, so a cold compress felt wonderful.
  • Homemade Calendula Salve – I made this salve for bug bites, but it’s also great for cuts and turns out it helps with rashes too.

Have any of you ever had a stress rash/hives? I’d love to know if you have any tips on holistic healing and keeping stress at bay!

 

 

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Last Summer

This time last year I was struggling with something that a lot of young women can relate to – body image and anxiety.

During the beginning of 2016 I was feeling beautiful and confident in my own skin. I was working out more regularly and I had lost weight leading up to my wedding day.

Between work, graduation, and wedding planning there were times when I was simply too busy to sit down and eat a real meal. Juices and smoothies became my go-to for lunches when I was out running errands. I ended up losing weight, but I was also feeling fit and healthy.

After our wedding, that all changed.

The week after our wedding was spent packing and getting ready to move into our new apartment. Again, there wasn’t much time to sit down and have big meals, so we were always eating quick bites on the go.

Once we had moved into our apartment and I had unpacked everything and got our little apartment all set up, I almost didn’t know what to do with myself and all of the free time I now had.

The days seemed to stretch out ahead of me with countless empty hours while Brendan was at work. I didn’t know how to fill these long lapses of time while Brendan was away, so I started watching television. Having television to watch was a treat for me since I didn’t have cable when I lived with my grandma the previous year.

Televison became my constant companion. I always left some show streaming all day long, whether I was actually giving it my full attention or not. It was comforting to me to have some background noise of human interaction on.

I was excited to be married and living in a new city with Brendan. But I was also scared and lonely, and this resulted in me feeling depressed and very anxious all of the time.

I started to feel so alone and craving time and interaction with other people (rare for an introvert like me). It didn’t help that our small apartment got little to no sunlight due to the fact that our windows faced a parking garage. I never knew if it was sunny outside or not.

My mood quickly began to reflect the view I saw outside that window – dark, cold, gray, and ugly. I built up walls and literally made a prison for myself. For some reason I was scared to go outside in this unfamiliar city without Brendan by my side. I cry a little on the inside every time I think of how I isolated myself.

I craved going back home and visiting my family. I felt safe and comfortable there, and it was nice to have others to talk to.

I remember being excited to go to the dentist and be around other people. My hygienist complemented my hair, and I thought about that all day long and how good it made me feel.

I eventually found my way back to journaling and blogging and that helped me with getting my feelings and frustrations out. It also helped me to understand myself a little bit better.

I started going to Starbucks to sit outside in the sun to read and write. But this didn’t cure me of all of my woes.

July came and my body image came to an all-time low. I gained weight after the wedding and I began to hate my body and beat myself up for eating more than I had earlier in the year. I took up going to the gym to work out. I felt better at first. I started going to the gym at least 5 times a week and would work out at least 2 hours while I was there. It gave me something to do and helped the hours go by while Brendan was at work (4 p.m. – 12 a.m.).

I began to develop more muscle and as a result I weighed more. This crushed me. I couldn’t shake the number on the scale and the fact that my pants fit tighter. I had also become obsessed with tracking calories again and how many steps I was getting.

This immediately took me back to when I was a teenager, counting every single calorie and on the verge of an eating disorder.

I started regularly having anxiety attacks and would break down crying in Brendan’s arms. I hated looking in the mirror and I wanted to wear clothes that would hide my body.

One evening that really sticks out to me was at the end of August (2016).

Brendan and I had decided to go to Liberty University for a movie night they were having as a way to kick off the new school year, and I was feeling so defeated with my body that evening. Everything I tried on I hated – I felt bloated, fat, and disgusting. The worst part was that I knew we would end up seeing some of Brendan’s former co-workers on campus and I didn’t want them to see me looking the way I did.

Isn’t it stupid?! In my mind I thought I needed to be thinner and prettier, and I felt like I didn’t deserve Brendan. In reality, I’m sure nobody would have even noticed that I had gained a few pounds. I cried before we left our apartment that evening, and we almost didn’t go because of me.

When September rolled around I knew that I couldn’t go on like that much longer. I decided to stop weighing myself everyday and stop looking in the mirror to constantly pick myself apart. I also stopped wearing my Fitbit, gave up tracking calories on MyFitnessPal, and cut down my gym time to just 3 times a week.

And with these changes I felt the shackles loosen and fall off.

Of course, it didn’t happen over night. After a few weeks I started to realize that I wasn’t focusing on the reflection in the mirror anymore and I was actually starting to enjoy my food again.

I’d say it took anywhere from a month to a month and a half for me to start really feeling better. It took hard work and dedication, a change in my mindset, and the support of my husband.

I never really told anyone else besides Brendan that I was struggling. Body image and anxiety can be a difficult thing to talk about and trying to explain it to people can be even harder.

Those were some very dark days for me, and it hurts me to think about how I beat myself up so much. It hurts to write about it too, but I feel like it’s important for me to share where I’ve been.

Thankfully I am in a much better place now – body, mind, and spirit.

I didn’t write this post because I want people to feel sorry for me. I wrote it in the hopes that it might help somebody else out there that is dealing with something similar.

I’m still learning that it’s okay to not always feel okay. Television and social media are always showing us these beautiful little snapshots of people’s lives, and we don’t always see what’s going on on the inside. The important thing to remember is that we’re all human and none of us will ever lead a perfect life.

Learn to listen to your body and its needs. Surround yourself with a support system – even if it’s just one person you can confide in. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Take care of yourself because you are worth it!

 

 

DIY Mother’s Day Gift “Basket”

Hello and Happy First Day of June!

This post from Mother’s Day is a bit overdue. With traveling and going on vacation for Brendan and my one year anniversary I just haven’t had the time to write. But, better late than never right?

I had so much fun putting this gift “basket” (jar, really) together for my mom this Mother’s Day. I wanted to give her something that was pampering but also practical for everyday use. Like me, Mom is into essential oils, natural face soaps, tea, and lovely candles. I wanted to include a few treats in this gift that she normally wouldn’t buy for herself (such as essential oils). While I put this together for Mother’s Day, you can make this for any occasion you want! So here’s a little peek at what I decided to include in Mom’s gift.

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Jar from Marshall’s 
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The smell from the candle, soap, essential oils, and tea was heavenly. 

I actually found a lot of these goodies at T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s. Surprisingly, they have a great selection of natural health and beauty products. I have seen some of these brands at natural/health food stores, so I trust that they are good quality. I have used some of these brands before, like the Eucalyptus soap by PlantLife and the Cooling Eucalyptus candle by DW Home and I really liked them.

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I also tried my hand at making some homemade Bug Bite Salve. Again, I wanted this gift to be pampering as well as practical, so instead of making some body scrub that I knew my mom probably wouldn’t use I decided to make this bug bite salve. Mom loves to spend her time outdoors, so I knew this would come in handy. I bought the tin and most of the ingredients I needed to make the salve from Health Nut Nutrition located in Lynchburg, which is one of my very favorite natural health stores.

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While I had never used this brand before, I loved this little aromatherapy roller set from Tisserand Aromatherapy. Each roller has a special blend of essential oils to help you de-stress, give you energy, and aides in a restful night’s sleep. I bought this set from T.J. Maxx.

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I also decided to include some dried chamomile flowers (from Health Nut Nutrition) so that mom could make a fresh cup of hot, relaxing chamomile tea. I found the adorable muslin sachet from my local Co-op and then just included a little index card with instructions on how to prepare the tea.

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Earlier this year I took a free online course through Herbal Academy which introduced me to herbs and learning how to draw plant monographs. It included a bunch of wonderful resources and free print outs, such as this Tea Meditation practice. This Tea Meditation encourages you to sit with a cup of herbal tea, taste the rich flavors and complicated flavors and take time to relish in the moment. Then, take a moment to journal about how drinking the tea makes you feel – what does it taste like? Do you feel the tea working in certain parts of your body?, etc. Since Mom loves a good cup of tea and journaling, I figured this was the perfect thing to include. In addition to the chamomile flowers, I also included some of our favorite teas from Traditional Medicinals and Yogi Tea.

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And finally, I finished off the gift “basket” with some fun packaging! I found the cute bag at Marshall’s and the sparkly tissue paper from T.J. Maxx.

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I had so much fun shopping for my Mom and putting this little gift together! Hopefully this will bring you some inspiration for your next DIY gift basket. Have a lovely day everyone.

 

 

Earth Day 2017

“The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope.” – Wendall Berry 


Happy Earth Day!

A few years ago Earth Day meant nothing to me, it was simply just another one of those holidays that nobody seemed to really care about. It wasn’t until I worked at my college’s Campus Garden/Farm in 2015 that I really started to understand more about taking care of the environment. At the Liberty University Morris Campus Farm I learned about the lost art of sustainable gardening/farming, I learned about the importance of honey bees and the roll they play in nature, I learned about the dangers of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and chemical weed killers, I learned to compost, and I became more aware of how much plastic we all use and how important it is to recycle.


Everybody knows that it’s good to “reduce, reuse, and recycle”, but how many people actually practice this? It pains me to see people throwing away recyclables everyday like plastic food containers, paper, cardboard, and glass bottles. I understand that some people may not have close access to recycling, but most do. In all honesty, I think most recyclables are thrown away out of sheer laziness. It’s not hard to get a couple of extra bins to place in the kitchen next to your trash can so that you can recycle paper and plastic.

Growing up, my family never recycled and I always told myself that when I got married and had a place of my own I would recycle. My grandmother recycles and she has been a great example for me. She doesn’t have a compost bin, but she does take her fruit and veggie scraps, as well as her coffee grounds, and puts them outside under her bushes for “fertilizer”. Not only does this cut back on trash and what goes to a landfill, it also provides plants with some extra nourishment.

Littering is another thing that I can’t believe people still do. We all know it’s bad for the environment, and who wants that junk laying around the streets or in parks anyway?! But, many people will still toss cigarette butts out their car windows, leave beer caps and plastics bottle lying around, etc.

This year one of my goals has been to waste less and recycle more. I started following some Instagrammers last year who try and lead a zero waste lifestyle and that really inspired me to do better about the products that I buy and what I consume. Do you ever stop and think about how much of the foods we buy come in packages that can’t be recycled? Chips, Granola bars, meats, cheeses, and even fruits and veggies. Sad isn’t it? One way to cut back on waste from packaging is to buy whole fruits and veggies instead of pre-diced or canned ones.

While I’m definitely not living a zero waste lifestyle, I’ve come such a long way and am so much more aware of the waste I create now. I’m trying my very best to cut out plastic wherever I can, stop wasting food, and recycle everything that I can. Here are a few ways  that Brendan and I have worked on cutting back on waste this year:

  • We have recycling bins for both plastic and paper/card board in our apartment. We also recycle glass bottles, cans, and plastic grocery bags. I know some cities don’t recycle glass bottles, but our city recycling accepts glass bottles and I am so thankful for that. And Kroger has a special bin where you can return and recycle your plastic grocery bags, so I take the few we end up getting there.
  • We make sure we recycle everything we can from every room in our apartment. Anything from cans, plastic food containers, glass bottles, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, empty floss containers, shampoo and soap bottles, tissue boxes, etc. I feel like most people neglect the bathroom when it comes to recycling and that’s something that needs to change.
  • Sadly since we live in the city we don’t have access to well water. So instead of buying bottled water, we use a Brita pitcher that filters our water.
  • I love coffee. A lot! So I unfortunately end up with a lot of Starbucks paper and plastic cups. None of the Starbucks in my area have recycling in store, so I always make sure I bring my cups back home with me so that I know they get recycled. To some this may seem like a pain, but it’s an extra step I am willing to take to cut back on waste.
  • Since last year I have been making my own deodorant and storing it in a glass jar instead of buying it from the store.
  • We started using reusable shopping bags when we get our groceries.
  • I use glass jars and stainless steal straws for my water, smoothies, juices, and teas.

I definitely have a lot of room for improvement, but I’m happy with how far I’ve come and how I continue to strive toward creating less waste and taking care of the environment. Here are a few things that I would like to do in order to better take care of the environment:

  • Start carrying a usable glass or stainless steal cup for when I get coffee (I already use glass bottles for my water, juices, smoothies, and teas).
  • Make my own homemade toothpaste, face scrubs, lip balms, and lotions.
  • Start an apartment compost worm bin to cut back on food scrap waste.
  • Start buying foods from the bulk section at the local Co-op. 


What are some ways you’ve cut back on waste? It’s time we step up and take care of the beautiful creation that God has so richly blessed us with.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Winter Wellness

Recently my blog posts have been focused on health, wellness, and nutrition. Health is something that has become increasingly important to me over the last 5 years and I have come to realize that I have a fiery passion for all things to do with nutrition and holistic healing.

As my blog continues to grow and develop, I want to do more series focused on health and wellness – whether that be my journey to veganism, holistic healing, or nutrition. If you visited my blog recently, you might have seen my series titled “Vegan Views” where I share my thoughts on a plant based diet, animal equality, and other issues related to a vegan lifestyle. Well, today I am excited to share a new series with you called “Winter Wellness”. Here I will be sharing my tips for naturally strengthening your immune system to help ward off the cold and flu this winter.

I will start by saying that by no means am I a professional when it comes to nutrition or holistic medicine – that’s not what I studied in college. However, I have done some research, read a lot of books on health and wellness, and am simply sharing what I have found works for me.

Today I wanted to share some of my “must-haves” that I always keep on hand to keep sickness at bay during the long cold winter months.

The last time I had the flu was in 2012 and the last time I had a cold was 2014 (knock on wood?). I have never gotten the flu vaccine and since I started putting more focus on my health and what I put into my body, I have realized that I am sick less often.

I didn’t really start caring about my health until my freshman year of college, but even then I didn’t always put my health first. With classes and homework assignments, I was lucky to have time to dash over to the dining hall to get something to eat. Since I had poor sleep habits, didn’t eat the healthiest, and was surrounded by roommates and classmates, I did unfortunately get sick a few times during the course of my college career.

My grandma has always been a big advocate for natural vitamins and herbal supplements. So she kept me informed and stocked up on what I needed to keep my immune system strong while I was in school. My roommates always laughed at me for having a drawer full of supplements, but there were a couple of times when they came to me when they were sick asking what they should take to make them feel better. Sadly, they didn’t realize the importance of strengthening their immune systems B E F O R E they got sick.

I do take a few different supplements, however I think it is of the utmost importance to eat a variety of different fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and grains, to make sure you are getting the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs. I take supplements because sometimes I still fall short on the vitamins my body needs, and also because it packs an extra punch when the cold weather comes around.

Here’s a quick list of what I typically keep on hand during cold and flu season!

  • Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Ginger Aid Tea (Traditional Medicinal)
  • Echinacea Tea (Traditional Medicinal)
  • Chamomile Tea
  • Kombucha Tea
  • Lemons
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Apples
  • Grapefruit
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Red Pepper
  • Sauerkraut
  • Raw Almonds
  • Raw Sunflower seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Wheat Germ
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Ground Cinnamon

Supplements: 

  • Probiotic
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B-12
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E

By no means does this list include all of the foods, supplements, spices, and teas you should keep on hand for cold and flu season. This is just what I happen to have right now and foods I typically lean toward eating. I also take a ginger shot weekly to help give my immune system a boost, and I drink plenty of cold pressed juices to get all of the benefits of the fruits and veggies that I need.

These foods contain antioxidants, vitamin C, Probiotics, anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin A, vitamin K, and B vitamins just to name a few. While I could go into more detail about the health benefits of each item on my list, that would be quite the long post. So, if you are interested in learning more specifically about each item, you can do some of your own research :). I may try and do more posts in the future that include more detail about the health benefits of these foods.

What are some of the must-haves you keep in your pantry for winter wellness?

 

 

 

 

 

2017 Goals and Intentions

Hello 2017!

Yesterday was a wonderful start to the year for me. Brendan and I visited a new church, we went to a family Christmas/New Year’s party, and then went to my parent’s house to do Christmas presents with them.

Since I was out all day yesterday, I decided that today is the day I am really going to start focusing on my goals and intentions for 2017. I started my morning with reading my Bible, checking notifications on my phone, 15 minutes of yoga, finishing off a bottle of water, drank a ginger “flu” shot, and now I’m sitting down with my cup of coffee while I write this post.

One of my goals this month is to establish a healthy morning and night time routine. I am guilty of taking forever to get out of bed, then drinking my morning coffee while ignoring my water and mindlessly surfing the web. And I tend to do the same thing after dinner, snacking and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. I hate to admit it, but it’s the truth.

I’d really like my mornings to start by spending time in God’s word, 15 minutes of yoga, and then drinking plenty of water while I read or blog. And then at night I’d like to spend my evenings journaling, 15 minutes of yoga, and then bed. One thing I know for sure I need to work on is being more mindful of when I am checking my phone. I spend way to much time on my phone and not enough time reading, writing, blogging, and doing anything else creative.

A N Y W A Y …

I have a much longer list of goals for 2017 than I have in years past. And as the days go on I’m sure more will come to mind that I will add to the list. But I wanted to share with you the goals I have written out now – I’ve heard that sharing your goals with others helps keep you accountable. So here it goes!

 

2 0 1 7  G O A L S  + I N T E N T I O N S 

  1. Practice more yoga (daily if possible)
  2. Buy less, Waste less, Recycle more
  3. Shop local more often (Farmers Market/Co-op)
  4. Get involved in the local community
  5. Wear less makeup
  6. Incorporate more natural beauty products
  7. Journal almost daily
  8. Blog Weekly
  9. Read 45 books
  10. Get a job
  11. Waste less food
  12. Meal plan/prep
  13. Find a home church
  14. Take a yoga class
  15. Check out library books > Buy books
  16. Write letters to people more often
  17. Look into taking nutrition/health classes

In addition to these goals for the year, I’m also going to continue with writing out goals and healthy habits for myself each month. That way I have smaller goals to work on that are more attainable and less daunting.

I am feeling so motivated and inspired to make a change in 2017. So I’m going to let go of the things that have been holding me back and I am going to start taking the steps I need to in order to be the person that I want to be.

Let’s fill 2017 with love, laughter, positive vibes, and change!

30 Days of Plant Power

On November 1st I made the decision to give up animal products – dairy, butter, and eggs – for a week. I had gone vegan for a week two years ago, but I had never made the commitment to do it again until this year. Well, here I am at the start of a new month and I’m still eating a vegan diet. What started out as giving up animal products for a week turned into 30 days of plant power.

The first week I missed my coffee creamer, honey in my hot tea, and eating cheese pizza. But as the week came to a close I was no longer feeling strong cravings for junk food, I grew accustomed to almond milk in my coffee, and I learned to drink my hot tea with just lemon and apple cider vinegar. Seriously, those are really the only foods I missed.

I was so thrilled that my body started craving more whole foods, my tummy bloat disappeared, and not once did I have the terrible stomach cramps that I had been dealing with all summer long. I’m also really proud of myself for surviving the in-laws visiting, traveling to Georgia to visit friends, AND Thanksgiving day all while sticking to a vegan diet. To me, those were some of my biggest victories.

I had the most fun learning more about this lifestyle and doing a little research to find out which chain restaurants offer plant based options. I discovered that it’s possible to eat vegan at Papa John’s, Dominos, Taco Bell, and even Olive Garden! Getting in the kitchen and cooking vegan versions of some of my favorite Thanksgiving foods was also an exciting experience.

So now that it’s December I’m wondering if I should continue on as strictly vegan, or if I should try occasionally eating dairy again. I’m kind of curious to see how my body will react to cheese after going a month without it. Regardless of whether I stay 100% vegan or not, I want my main focus to be listening to my body and giving it what it needs to thrive.

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Even though we live in a country that is plagued by the western diet, it IS possible to follow a plant based lifestyle. Being vegan may not always be easy, but it’s worth the fight. I’ve gotten some weird looks and snide comments from some of my friends and family about some of the things I eat, but that’s okay. I like standing out. And really, it’s their loss if they don’t want to take the time and effort to nourish their bodies.

I don’t want to push anyone into this lifestyle, but I will always be here more than willing to share what knowledge I have with others. I want to make a difference in this world by helping to educate people on how to take care of their bodies, because we only get one. Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and God wants us to take care of His creation. I think it’s high time that we wake up and do something about our health.