Breakfast Muffins

We have been battling the flu in our house this last week; therefore I had every intent to get more than one post done last week- but the stomach virus had other plans for me. 🙂 We covered ourselves in Thieves oil and let our body build some natural immunity. Not the most fun, but now we all have a few more white blood cells! Moving on…

Too often I miss breakfast. Studies show that not only is breakfast important to our metabolism’s jump start it can also lower incidences of obesity and some chronic diseases. With that said- it is not always easy to get a nutritious meal put together before trying to get out the door or before the day gets away from me. Recently if I don’t eat I notice my brain feeling foggy and I feel like I lack energy. In the summers it is easy to throw together a nutritious smoothie full of greens and fruit but when it’s freezing and snowing I don’t always feel like a smoothie. My good friend had a problem at one point getting her toddler to eat veggies and healthy snacks so she would make up these muffins to pack in some nutrition for her little guy. They have become a go to breakfast for me! I will make up a few dozen and then package them in groups of 4-5 and eat one in the morning before heading out the door. Hope they make your day a little more nutritious and easy!

Jess’ Breakfast Muffins

5 cups oats (I use trader joe’s gluten free- cheap and good!)

2 eggs

1 smashed avocado

1 cup of unsweetened applesauce

6 packets of stevia (this is too sweet for me- I just use either maple syrup or honey here)

a drizzle of honey (if you didn’t omit the above)

1/4 c. flax seed meal (you can buy this whole or ground. I buy whole and grind in my coffee grinder)

1 T. cinnamon

3 t. baking powder

1 t. salt

2-2 3/4 c. water or milk (I use almond or coconut milk to keep these dairy free)

Chocolate or carob chips topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix avocado, eggs, applesauce, and stevia (or sugar substitution). Mix oats, flax, cinnamon, baking powder and salt separately. Mix wet and dry ingredients together and add milk. Top with chocolate chips, bake for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

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God’s Gift in Medicine

Something I will look at a lot in this blog are things that I have used myself and am learning about. I will never endorse a product or “health trend” that I haven’t examined myself (the same is true of guest bloggers). Speaking of I can’t wait to show you what my friend is going to talk about this week…oh but I’m getting side tracked. Oils…what’s the big deal? Why is everyone talking about them? What’s the new hype or fad? If you’re like me the conversation has come up everywhere. What’s the big deal? I was the biggest skeptic of all. Yeah, yeah, it’s just another gimmick that is selling really well right now. That’s when my mom handed me my first bottle of peppermint. I thought, ok, I’ll try this but I doubt it works.

As I have said before I had migraine headaches and still occasionally do. Once my Celiac’s was diagnosed and I tossed the gluten they have become EXTREMELY rare.  However, especially when pregnant or breastfeeding you can’t exactly just pop Ibuprofen or acetaminophen without thinking twice. In fact while pregnant I refused to take any of these things. That’s when Peppermint came into play. I remembered I had it and once the headache started to come on I rubbed it on the back of my neck, my temples, and the side of my head that was hurting the most (being careful to avoid the eyes of course). And I’m not making this up, in five minutes; my headache was gone. I haven’t turned back. I really couldn’t believe it. Why in the world would peppermint do that? The analytic in me began to go crazy.

As you’ll also see, I LOVE research. I’m kind of a research junkie. Always researching something. Products, food, exercise, anything with medicine, etc. I really tend to doubt anecdotal evidence. I really want to see the science behind it. So here’s the briefest summary to answer the question, what are essential oils and why do they work?

Essential oils really are God’s medicine. They are naturally occurring oils found in plants that are harvested and distilled and then placed into bottles. Because plants and humans have very similar cell biology these chemical compounds can work on human cells much the same way that they can plants. For example, if a virus is going around and someone sneezes on you, you are a moving target, that virus will not definitely land on you although it may. Plants however are sedentary- and come against all kinds of things; disease, internal issues, etc. So these oils are they natural “medicines” that allow the plants to survive in their sedentary lifestyle. That’s all good and well, but just because the oils work on plants why does that mean they will work on us? I do not pretend to be a scientist or a doctor; but the very little chemistry I understand (and I mean very little) applies here. The compounds found inside these oils work to target different cell structures in our body. A certain structure causes vasodilation (opening of blood vessels), another structure causes the cell to be antimicrobial, another to heal scars; these properties (only when in pure form) transfer directly to our bodies.

So in summary peppermint worked on my headache because not only can it cross the blood brain barrier, it has vasodilatory effects. God’s natural pain killer.(see study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7954745)  This is the most broad and basic understanding of the oils and why I am using them for my family. I am in no way saying that these oils should replace a medical provider. But knowing that instead of running to a pain killer that can naturally hurt my pancreas and liver (see article by FDA on this http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/Drugs/DrugSafetyandRiskManagementAdvisoryCommittee/UCM164897.pdf); I’m going to start with things that don’t have all those nasty side effects. You do the research…you try them for yourselves, don’t take my word for it. I did, and the more I learn the more amazed I am at how creative and inventive our God really is. I love learning about the way that He heals and restores our bodies while here on earth.

As an aside- This is the broadest of overviews. Over the last few weeks the conversation keeps popping up…what’s with the oils. I wanted to address that question first. And let you decide for yourself. In the future I will doing specific product reviews and how I use certain ones in our home. But I hope this at least gives you a base starting knowledge as you participate in these conversations and learn about natural healing as well!

Why do we care???

The bottom line…why do we need to care about healthy living?? That may seem like a silly question, one that you probably already have a million answers to; but really what’s the big deal? Well- your first and foremost answer should be we care, because God cares. Yes these bodies aren’t eternal, yes we get to experience better soon; but we should still care about the health and wellness of ourselves and our families right now. I have always been exposed to other methods of care; chiropractic, supplements, etc. however; it really wasn’t until I experienced my diagnosis of celiac disease that I really began to understand that we are very holistic people.

We live in an age of symptomatic treatment. You go to the doctor, you explain your symptoms, they prescribe a course of treatment and then you are healed (well hopefully.) It has been my experience that instead of healing, more often than not, it just becomes symptom management and as you get through with one, another one is right around the corner. Is that really healing the whole person or just compartmentalizing our whole bodies. Holistic health is so important. We can’t just look at one thing and in no way connect it to another. Often times disease and symptoms work in layers, with the most prominent being the only thing we “see” while underneath there may be 10 other symptoms that will not show up unitl the top one is fixed. The other thing with symptom management is that in a majority of cases that is what it is: management- not healing. How do we get to the root of the problem? Too often no one even knows what the root of the problem is and frankly if there isn’t a drug on the market to fix it- they don’t want to know. I really do believe that doctors trained in western medicine have the best of intentions and really do care about healing for people; but I think too often they are taught to look at people in a very compartmentalized way.

I remember multiple conversations with patients who had been admitted to the hospital and when I asked, “Well how is your diet?” Many would look at me like I had four eyes and then proceed to say something like, “that has nothing to do with this?” In my head I was thinking what do you mean it has nothing to do with it. We are what we eat. You put something into your body it will have some sort of affect. This is the mentality that is so hard to “change” without seeming too extreme or overly biased. We need to look at the whole person. What we eat, how much water do we take in, are we exercising, what supplements or medications, any current of recent stressors in life, and the list just keeps going. We are whole people- that means we have to treat the whole person. So let’s start with questions like, “what are you eating?” before moving to “how can we fix it?”

So the bottom line…we care because God cares and we care about the whole person. If I sit down with someone and they start asking me questions about their health- one of the first things I start thinking through is environment, diet, social experiences before we even start talking in a medical concept. Coming from someone who had at least 20 doctors tell me I just had anxiety and try to prescribe some Xanex; not until 8 months later when a Diagnostic Chiropractor decided to look at my diet and in one week of no gluten, I was back. Hence, I’m not looking back- my passion is to help people see the same, to explore because you know your body and problems better than anyone and insist on a better standard of care.

A New Beginning

I had no idea that this phase of life was going to offer a new journey for me- but I could not be more thrilled to begin embarking on it.  A few months ago God began a journey in my heart. I have been involved in the study titled “Restless” which has allowed me to survey my gifts, my talents, my passions, my hopes, dreams, and threads involved in my life. As I participated I really had no idea where it would take me, or even if it would lead anywhere in particular. But as I surveyed these things I realized some main overarching themes. First, I am restless – I love my “job”, being E’s momma and would never trade it for the world- but I am longing for something: I just can’t put my finger on it. Second, I am gifted- I am a natural born leader, I have experience in the medical field as a practicing RN, I love natural health, and I love educating people. As I looked at all these puzzle pieces I couldn’t find a common thread; what in the world would all these things have in common and how could they be used for anything.

Last week it hit me- my passion and my gifting lies in just that; helping people in natural health and wellness live their best life this side of eternity. As I sorted through that all of this, these thoughts came at me; “you aren’t qualified to teach people,” “you’re too young”, “who would listen to you?” “What in the world do you have to offer?” I realized I really do have something to offer. I have worked long enough in the medical field to know that I’m hungry for something different, that I want people to know that they have options; for themselves, for their families, for the ones they love. I want people to feel compelled to take control of their health, not just let life and western medicine dictate how we live the rest of our lives. As a caveat, this is not going to be a blog bashing western medicine as I have and do see the huge importance of it in our lives today and in the future. However, I will seek to offer education that gives options outside of that scope while still respecting its value. I want to encourage a culture of prevention and ownership when it comes to our health- physical, spiritual, and emotional.  I will seek to engage and present all different kinds of material- even having guests focusing on their specific field so that we can all be learning together. I have just begun my journey and hope that some of the things I am learning can intersect your story or be of help to you and your family.