Carrot Seed Oil

If you know me, you know I am always trying new things out in the health and beauty department.  I have an entire cupboard dedicated to supplements.  My husband can attest to that, much to his chagrin.

There are some things I love, and use over and over (hello turmeric)…and other things that get relegated to the back of the cupboard never to see the light of day again (fermented cod liver, hella gross).

Beauty and health are completely linked in my mind.

When my skin is looking dull, I don’t go to Macy’s beauty counter and buy expensive creams.  I play around with my own concoctions.  I’ve seen different companies putting out products with essential oils however they also have fillers, preservatives, extra fragrances, and they are expensive.  I’m frugal, people (cheap, I’m cheap, ok…)

One product that has really impressed me lately had been carrot seed essential oil.  I bought this from plant therapy for $11.

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My wonder oil, y’all

It’ll last me a year, at least. I mixed it with purified water in a mister, roughly 4 ounces water with 20 drops oil.  I shake it up and mist it onto my clean skin.

Carrot seed oil is amazing for skin health.  It is regenerative and may have up to 30 SPF.  I won’t go into all the benefits but you can read a bit more here https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/carrot-seed-essential-oil.html

I really did see results overnight with my problematic skin.

I have oily skin prone to redness and blotchiness.  I usually don’t feel confident leaving the house without foundation and a full face of makeup.  The carrot seed oil really helps make my complexion look so much better that I’ve been skipping makeup (save for mascara and filling in my super light eyebrows so people can read my facial expressions!) which is something I wouldn’t have done a couple weeks ago.

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My Makeup-free my, you’re welcome…

Which was the goal because I don’t like having to put it on and clogging my pores.  Plus it shaves ten minutes off my routine, which is a huge plus.  Also, I’m putting zero potentially harmful chemicals on my face.  Happy dance!

I’m nearly 31 and I don’t have wrinkles yet but I could see how this oil could help with that as well.  I wouldn’t swear by it’s abilities as a natural sunblock but I’ve ventured out into the blazing sun a couple times wearing carrot seed and only carrot seed (hahahaha) and no sunburn or even tanning happened.

This is a natural product and has a natural smell.  I like it, personally.  But it’s a strong smell and you may or may not be able to tolerate it.  You could also mix it with rose or lavender oil to make it more pleasant, and with extra skin health benefits!!

Queen Esther’s Beauty Elixir

Esther was a beautiful young woman chosen to be the Queen in the book of Esther.  The Bible actually records her ‘beauty secret’… “Before a young woman’s turn came to go in to King Xerxes, she had to complete twelve months of beauty treatments prescribed for the women, six months with oil of myrrh and six with perfumes and cosmetics.” Esther 2:12

myrrhMyrrh oil comes from the Commiphora myrrh tree in the horn of Africa and the Middle East.  It has literally been used for thousands of years to treat skin and oral problems.  Interestingly, myrrh is mentioned some 156 times in the Bible!

I definitely do not naturally have great skin.  I got my dad’s oily skin and large pores.  But I have gotten many compliments on my skin since I started using myrrh oil.

Myrrh is a powerful antioxidant and works with your body to repair damage, smooth fine lines, minimize age spots, and aid in cell renewal to get glowing skin.  There is even evidence that myrrh has strong anti-cancer properties.

I buy Now brands myrrh oil.  It is very reasonably prized and seems to stand up to more expensive brands I have tried.  The oil is very thick and will get ‘gunky’ if not diluted.  I recommend diluting in a larger bottle with a carrier oil.  Excellent carrier oils are carrot seed oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, or even extra virgin coconut oil.  I personally dilute it 50-50.  Myrrh is fairly gentle so you can use it at a stronger dilution.  You should only need a small, like pea sized, amount.  I apply it every night after I wash off my makeup. dreamstime_m_16597331

Your skin might break out initially as you get used to the carrier oil and possibly as toxins are ejected from your skin.  If you keep breaking out you may want to experiment with other carrier oils.  There are many good options out there.  You could even simply add you myrrh oil to your favorite natural lotion.

Myrrh has a tenacious smell, definitely an acquired taste.  I don’t mind it but you might if you have a sensitive nose.  You can also mix in more pleasing smelling oils (with their own healing properties!) such as lavender, rose, or geranium.

I love rose and have found it to be very effective as well.  Lavender is excellent as a quick remedy to soothe burns or diaper rash.  Geranium is much less expensive than rose oil but with a very similar chemical makeup and very similar properties (and aroma). 8080794_xl You also could replicate the nativity gift of gold, frankincense and myrrh with the essential oils of myrrh and frankincense along with a golden hued carrier oil.

Along with being 100% natural and time-tested (basically since recorded history!) you will save money over buying over priced creams which are also chock-full of harmful, unnatural ingredients.  Your body and skin will thank you!

Healthy Summer Tips

20150609_122422_resizedMinnesotans love being outside.  Fact.  Summer is a binge-fest of sunshine and fun.  People ‘go up North’.  Camping, hiking, fishing, and most cherished of all- beach days.  Yes, Minnesota is landlocked.  But we actually have more shoreline than California and Hawaii combined, thanks to our lakes.  No, the lakes aren’t as clean as the ocean.  I grew up swimming in algae-riffic lakes.  We make do 🙂

Growing up, we mostly skipped sunscreen and got super tan (with a few sunburns) every summer.  Conventional wisdom has flip-flopped on the healthiness of a tan.  Tans used to be seen as the epitome of health.  Then came the sunscreen craze and all tanning was dangerous.  Now it seems the tide is shifting again.

I’ve done my research and I opt to use sunscreen very minimally, if at all.  Sun exposure is essential for vitamin D production and also regulating internal body sleep-wake hormones.  I think one reason behind the obesity epidemic (especially among children) is that people spend too much time inside.  It is natural and healthy for kids to spend hours playing outside.  Vitamin D and exercise are critical for healthy development.  As a child, I spent hours outside playing every day, that was the norm.  There has been a pretty massive shift indoors in just 20 years.  In that same time childhood obesity rates have tripled since the 80’s.  source- http://www.sparkpe.org/blog/how-has-the-childhood-obesity-rate-changed/

But the suns rays do contain the ultra-violet rays that can cause skin damage, true.  That is why we should take steps to enjoy the benefits while offsetting the damage.  Here is a great article about how healthy foods protect us from the inside out.  http://www.drfranklipman.com/natural-sun-protection/  A lot of these foods are delicious and easy to get your children to eat- chocolate, apples, tomato sauce, berries, etc.

We are selective about what sunscreens we do use and when.  Most sunscreens are toxic and apparently actually cause skin cancer!  source- http://draxe.com/75-of-sunscreens-are-toxic-what-to-do-instead/  Sunscreens block your body’s natural vitamin D production.  Not only that, but most contain synthetic vitamin A which oxidizes in the sunlight and can trigger cancerous growths.  Yikes.  source- http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/report/the-problem-with-vitamin-a/

Maybe a natural tan is healthy after all?

I personally use coconut oil as a natural sunscreen for daily exposure.  For more intense exposure we use Burt’s Bees 20150609_122442_resizednatural sunscreen stick.  We all wear hats outside.  Swim shirts work great.  I have really been surprised to see how effective a natural approach is.   Two of my children are very fair-skinned.  My youngest has only been sunscreen-ed up a few times.  For all the time we spend outdoors she has only gotten a mild sunburn once.  I treated it with coconut oil and lavender oil and she was totally fine.

Here is to a summer filled with adventure, fun, sunshine and good health! 🙂

Sunburn Cure

Yesterday was the first day of summer break for my kiddos.  I decided to take them to the zoo where they would fit in (haha 20150605_132844_resizedjust kidding…kind of).  My Dad gets our family a membership every year to the Minnesota Zoo, a really great place with lots of fun stuff for kids.  When we left it is was very overcast so I skipped sunscreen.  Within an hour of arriving the sun was out in full force.  Oops.  My kids just got a light tan but I got full on sunburnt on my neck, shoulders, and chest.  Sun exposure is good and really necessary for good health but it is easy to over-do it.  Like hours on end outside under the hot sun.

I tend to risk over-doing it vs. slathering myself in sunscreen or avoiding the sun because sun exposure is actually a preventative for all causes of mortality, even skin cancer.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24697969

The sunburn is gone this morning though because I treated it with my simple cure.  I took a spoonful of virgin coconut oil (yep that stuff again) and a few drops of lavender oil and massage it into the affected areas.  It smells amazing and takes away the heat, tenderness and stinging immediately.  It heals your skin overnight.  Awesomness.

Sunburn is inflammation so it is also helpful to supplement with anti-inflammatories like turmeric, fish oil, or green tea.  Also try to eat foods high in anti-oxidants (like blueberries) after a burn to speed healing.

Coconut oil actually has an SPF of 4-6 so it can be applied before moderate sun exposure to facilitate healthy sun exposure without burning.

Here are some fun pics from yesterday just because 🙂

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Shiloh went nuts for the goats!

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Coconut Oil

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This was the cup of coconut coffee I just enjoyed.  I got the recipe from http://wellnessmama.com/5673/healthy-coffee/  I used closer to just a tsp. coconut oil and a tsp. organic butter and I added a tiny bit of natural bliss sweet cream creamer.  I believe, like chocolate; coffee needs a teensy bit of sweetness to be truly delicious.  The coffee was really surprisingly delicious, smooth and satisfying.  Great for people who don’t eat breakfast.

There are tons of good resources out there on the benefits of coconut oil.  I’ll just share a bit of my experience with this increasingly popular superfood.

I think I first heard of the health benefits of coconut oil when I was researching to find answers to my digestive problems (that has been a journey in itself!) and I learned that many of us have candida overgrowth.  Candida is the yeast/fungus that causes thrush and yeast infections.  It can also overpopulate the intestines and cause all sorts of problems like sugar and carb cravings, bloating, mood swings, weight gain, etc.  It is exacerbated by the fact that our water is treated with chlorine and our medical system over prescribes anti-biotics; both of which kill off healthy gut bacteria that would keep candida under control.

Coconut is high in lauric and caprylic acid which kills off candida and other yucky junk in our systems that shouldn’t be there, without damaging healthy bacteria.  The effect is so strong that just a spoonful can cause massive die-off symptoms.  My husband tried a spoonful and felt gross for 3 days.  You need to work your way up to feeling the positive benefits.  When you kill off candida you can get flu-like symptoms.  You may do some ‘cleansing’ as your digestive system is freed up to work more effectively.  It doesn’t last forever though and trust that you will feel so much better when you get your gut healthy.

Coconut oil, while technically a fat, actually helps your burn fat.  It is highly thermogenic and your body can easily use it for energy instead of storing it as fat.

Coconut oil is a superfood in that it has a wide range of benefits and contributes to over all health and well-being.

I struggled keeping up my milk supply after my third child.  I made oatmeal cookies with coconut oil and ate them every day.  I was able to breastfeed for the full 18 months that I had planned.  I also saw a great improvement in my baby’s health as I incorporated large amounts of coconut oil into my diet.

Coconut oil also works well used topically on skin and hair.  It is great for treating sunburns (especially with a couple drops of lavender!) and heals skin overnight.  It makes a great hot oil treatment for moisturizing damaged, dry hair as well.

It works as medicine when melted and gently poured into an ear to treat an infection.  It is also a gentle and totally natural cure for yeast infections.  One of my children has cradle cap.  I treat it by massaging coconut oil into his scalp, letting it sit for 20 minutes, and then washing his hair.  His scalp is also 100% smooth afterwards.

I take a spoonful every morning and I do believe it has improved my health.  I use it often as medicine and food.  It works well in baking, and imparts a slight coconut flavor.  For cooking savory dishes (or making popcorn) I use refined coconut oil.  It still has a lot of the benefits but no coconut flavor (and it’s cheaper!).

Have you tried coconut oil?  What great uses have you found for it?

Two Questions

I heard John Eldridge on one of my favorite radio programs awhile back (Live the Promise with Susie Larson) and I was a bit dumbstruck at how he had pegged the heart of a woman.  ‘Every little girl asks her Daddy two questions- “Am I beautiful?  Am I worth fighting for?”‘  If the Daddy affirms the little girl through words and actions- she grows up with healthy self-esteem and gets a great start in life.  If not, well, she has mountains to overcome.

Every little girl wants to be a beautiful princess.  In the heart of every woman is still that longing.  Beauty, or the lack of it, can be a lifelong source of immense pain.

I look back to my childhood and the way some off-handed remarks from my Dad affected me deeply.  I had been a very skinny child and when I hit puberty and started to fill out (which is normal and healthy) my Dad made some suggestions to me that I should think about losing some weight.  He probably didn’t mean any harm but the enemy used the words (among other painful experiences) to start a massive downward spiral.  I equated thin with ‘lovable’ and ‘worthy’. It wasn’t long before disordered thinking and eating took over my young life.  It wasn’t long before I was looking to boys to give me a sense of worth.

It is something I am still working through, honestly.  My best friend rolls her eyes when I tell her about my latest diet or whatever.  “You know you are anorexic, right?” she says teasingly.

I have so much compassion for women that dress provocatively or engage in reckless and harmful behaviors.  She is being driven by this insatiable desire, this longing, to be validated as beautiful and special.  If that need isn’t met in a healthy way so often women will try to fill it by any means necessary.

In so many ways it is a brutal world for women.  The culture is degrading like never before.  A quick google search revealed that 77% of Americans view pornography once a month.  I can’t wrap my mind around it.  The statistic seems really high to me, but regardless- it has had a massively negative affect on both genders.  And the popularity of books like the 50 Shades of Grey series are reinforcing the Devil’s lies to women that they can find love and worth in unhealthy sexual behavior.

I remember the uproar a few years ago when popular actress Evangeline Lilly was quoted as saying, “I spent many nights crying myself to sleep wishing I was ugly because of the way men leered and disrespected me, because they assumed things about my mental capacity or my physical willingness based on the way I looked.”

I remember it striking a cord with me.  I read the comments on articles and it revealed the depth of pain women experience.  One women said she had never been called beautiful her entire life, you could hear the pain in her voice.  Many women think that by looking a certain way, they will finally be happy and fulfilled.  The example of reality start Heidi Montag comes to mind.  She underwent a gazillion (slight exaggeration!) surgeries trying to turn herself into an unrealistic ideal.  HEIDI-MONTAG-PLASTIC-SURGERY-PHOTOSShe said, “I was an ugly duckling before.”  I think she was very pretty, many girls would love to be as ‘ugly’ as her before picture.  Before we judge her too harshly let’s hear what she said recently,

“I definitely regret the surgeries that I have had over the years, I think I was so young and in such an unstable situation in my life with so much going on and so much pressure,’ she said. ‘It is really hard to be a woman in this day and age with all the media and internet and comments, there is so much more negativity coming at people, it is a lot easier to be insecure and let that get to me.”

 I understand what it is like on both sides.  I’ve been labeled as ugly and felt that pain, which was tremendous.  I’ve also had to deal with a lot of unwanted attention.  I remember once walking through Wal-mart (minding my own business) when two young men passed me, giving me the once over, then were discussing my looks while still in earshot of me.  And just recently a man at the gym kept trying to give me tips on my form and was grabbing my arm.  I don’t know if he had any bad intentions but it was intimidating and unwelcome.  I’ve had many experiences reflecting the lack of respect and honor for women today.

There is just so much brokenness for women.  Dealing with leering if you are attractive.  Coping with the pain of being overlooked if you aren’t.  Facing a world in which you are constantly judged by your appearance.

What is the solution?  Firstly- men please keep yourself pure.  Porn is SO destructive in so any ways.  It has negatively shaped this generation of young men and the way they view and treat women.  Lavish love and attention on your daughters.  You have an unbelievable affect on her for good or evil.  Tell her she is beautiful and precious to you every day.  Don’t ever criticize her weight or appearance.  Protect her.  Let’s also raise our sons to value, honor, and respect women.

As much as women don’t want to admit it; men- we need you.  Men were created by God to protect women and children.  Satan loves to pervert that into men using their God-given strength for evil.  But we need you to be strong.  To be men of valor and courage and righteousness.  We need you to be strong and turn back the tide of this satanic attack we see overtaking the entire world.  “What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.” Psalm 8:4-6

Women- I know it a such a tough battle.  We need to daily be in God’s word, in prayer, in our spiritual armor or this destructive world system will tear us up.

I believe God would declare over each and every one of his daughters, “I am enthralled with your beauty.  You are special.  You are MY princess.  You are worth fighting for.  I love you so much.”

We need to go to our Heavenly Father and let him speak worth and value over our lives.  Goodness knows we won’t find it out in the World.

“Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.” Psalm 45:11

DIY Dry Shampoo

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I am pretty busy, with my three kiddos.  I also bleach my hair.  So I like to stretch the days between shampooing.  The natural oils are great for your hair, which is especially important if you dye and style it.  But no one wants greasy looking, musty-smelling hair, right?  😉  Here is a quick DIY recipe for a dry shampoo.  This will soak up oil and make your hair look fresh and smell amazing in 2 minutes.  I sprinkle it on a soft bristle brush and run It through my hair, focusing on my roots.  It also has a thickening affect!

You can experiment with the ratios and essential oils (use what smells good to you!  But avoid citrus sun-sensitizing oils).

Dry Shampoo-

  • 3 heaping tbs. non-GMO cornstarch (I found mine at Target)
  • 1 tbs. baking soda
  • 3 drops lavender oil
  • 1 drop peppermint (peppermint is very strong)

Add the ingredients to a small container (I used 1/2 cup gladware container) and shake it up.  Boom.  Done.  Oh and you can also add a tsp. of cocoa powder for brown hair and/or cinnamon for red hair.