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Fighting Colds & Flus

This time of year there are always a lot of bugs going around. This month I actually had about 10 good days in a row – praise God! Then I got a nasty sore throat/cold that I’ve been fighting the last few days. 
So I thought I’d share some tips for fighting these bugs:
– lots of rest and plenty of water, of course =)
– extra vitamin C
– eat some fresh organic fruit if you can – oranges, tangerines, apples, or berries, which are full of vitamins, enzymes and anti-oxidants
– avoid sugar (if you aren’t already), because it suppresses the immune system
– detox baths (I use a mineral powder, but there are other things you can use as well, depending on what works best for your body – baking soda & epsom salts, essential oils, etc.)
– foot baths (with whatever substance mentioned above that works best for you)
– rub organic coconut oil on your feet, also I’ve been rubbing it on my throat and sinuses since that’s where the pain was
– drinking 1/4 tsp of baking soda in a glass of water often helps settle an upset stomach
– hold an onion in your right hand (if you have a bacterial infection) or a garlic clove (if you have a fungal infection) – for around 5-10 minutes 
– gargle with mild salt-water for a sore throat
– watch a funny movie and at least smile even if you can’t laugh =)
– get lots of hugs =)
As far as supplements, there are some helpful ones. Just remember that it’s best to only start one new supplement at a time. Always check ingredient labels, and remember that some supplements work better for some people than others. Each body is unique, so find what works for you.
Here are some suggestions:
– Olive leaf extract can help fight infections
– Quercetin is a good antioxidant
– zinc can help the immune system
– sometimes extra B-vitamins can help during an infection
– extra probiotics may also be helpful
Well, I hope some of these ideas are helpful for you. I’m sure there are many other good things to do to fight infections. Please share any additional tips you have in the comments. Thanks! 
And I hope you have a healthy New Year!
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Joyful Christmas

I know a few of you have already read this, since I included it in my Christmas letter. But my mom encouraged me to go ahead and post it here anyway.
I know how challenging this time of year can be. I hope and pray these thoughts will encourage you today. 
May you have a truly Joyful Christmas! 
Sorrow & Joy –
I’ve been thinking about the strange coexistence of sorrow and joy in this life. 
We think of Christmas as a happy time. Yet for many people this Christmas will be anything but happy. And I think we’ve all experienced Christmases that were less than “merry.” Even the first Christmas was not without sadness.
Luke 2:33-35 says, The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about Him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, His mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel…And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 
The first Christmas was a joyful time, as angels sang and shepherds worshipped. Mary and Joseph marveled at this special event. 
And yet, Jesus’ birth was also greeted with this painful prophesy of His future. The child’s life would not be one of ease and comfort. And Mary’s own heart would be pierced with grief.
The joy of Christmas was in a sense shadowed by the sorrow of the cross. Yes, the Savior had come, but He came to die. 
At the same time, for those of us who know the whole story, the sorrow of the cross pales in light of Jesus’ resurrection! 
After the most painful sorrow, Mary experienced (I believe) the greatest joy! The joy of seeing her son raised to life must have eclipsed even the joy of giving Him birth.
And that same joy is ours today! Regardless of whatever sorrows we experience, the glory of the resurrection is even greater! 
The resurrection tells us that there is more than just this life. 
It reminds us that in the end God’s goodness will fully triumph over evil. 
And it assures us that the God who loved us enough to die for us, is WITH us through every moment.
So even if this isn’t a very merry Christmas for you, I pray it will be a truly Joyful Christmas!

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You Know You’re An E.I. at Christmas Time When…

I love Christmas time! Yet I know how challenging this time of year can be for those with E.I. So here’s a little humor to (hopefully) bring you some Christmas cheer. =) 

You Know You’re An E.I. at Christmas Time When…
*You use red and green cotton T-shirts to make Christmas “art” and “decorate” your house.
*You tape old Christmas cards on the outside of your window so you can see them from the inside.
*You take your neighbors sweet potatoes from your garden instead of Christmas cookies.
*You heat water in a Christmas mug and pretend it’s hot chocolate. 
*You make your own Christmas cards using 3×5 notecards, a pencil, and stick-figure art.
*You wrap presents in aluminum foil instead of wrapping paper.
*You watch the same PBS Christmas specials over and over.
*You give your family and friends vitamins, supplements or other healthy products for Christmas.
And, *You know how to celebrate in your heart the real meaning of Christmas – the gift of JESUS!
May you have a joyful Christmas in spite of life’s challenges! =)

What would you add to this list? Have fun with it! =)
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Tri-salts for Allergies

In 2008 my mom and I went to the Environmental Health Center in Dallas looking for answers. Sadly, it turned out not to be a helpful place for me. However, while there we did learn about one product that has been very useful – Tri-salts.

Tri-Salts is a powdered supplement that you can take to help reduce allergic reactions. Immediately when you feel a reaction starting, you can put some tri-salts in a little water and drink it. (I think the recommended dose is 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of tri-salts, though I usually only need 1/8 – 1/4 tsp) This has worked really well for me in heading off reactions before they get worse. 
Many people, when they feel a reaction coming on, often try to ignore it or hope it goes away. The usual result is that the reaction only gets worse. Instead of waiting, if you take the tri-salts immediately, it can help to stop the reaction in its tracks. (Of course, it also helps if you identify the allergen and remove it.)
Years ago I used the Alka-seltzer Gold product in a similar way. (But I believe it contains corn ingredients, so the tri-salts are better.) Thankfully, once I learned to use tri-salts immediately for a reaction, I didn’t have to resort to Benedryl nearly as often. 
Tri-salts are a combination of calcium carbonate, sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate. They help to alkalize the body, which I believe is what helps to stop the reaction. (Because they are alkalizing, it’s important to stay within the recommended dose on the label of each specific product, or you can upset your pH balance.)
For me tri-salts are helpful for food reactions as well as reactions to chemicals and other allergens. I always carry some with me so I can take it if I run into something troublesome. 
Here’s the brand I use. Depending on your situation (assuming you’re not allergic to the ingredients), tri-salts may be a helpful tool for you.
Question: What products have you found helpful for dealing with allergic reactions?

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Accidental Recipe

In my ongoing adventures with gluten-free baking, one day I completely messed up the recipe I was trying to make. I didn’t want to waste all the ingredients, so I baked it anyway. And to my great surprise, I liked the result! =)
So here’s my accidental recipe for what I now call “Sorghum Wafers” – 
1 cup organic sorghum flour
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill organic baking flour
1/2 cup organic Tapioca flour
1&1/2 Tbl. baking powder
1&1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup organic coconut oil
1&1/2 cup water
mix dry ingredients
add liquids and stir
pour into glass cake pan (greased with coconut oil)
bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes
When cool, cut into squares (or whatever shape you prefer). =) 
This “wafer” looks somewhat like cornbread, but has a pretty mild taste. I like to eat it with my meat and veggies, but I think it would also work well with soups or stews.
If you give it a try, let me know what you think. =) 

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Celebrating Without Turkey

I was in a store the other day and heard a woman say “Have a Happy Turkey Day!” 
I think it’s sad that anyone would say this. Not that there’s anything wrong with turkey. But turkey is not what we’re celebrating on this special Thursday in November. 
The pilgrims were not celebrating turkeys. They weren’t celebrating any special food or even good times.
They were celebrating the goodness and faithfulness of God through years of hardship and trials.
During the last few years I haven’t been able to celebrate Thanksgiving in the “traditional” ways. And I admit, it was challenging to be thankful while laying on my bed, alone, missing my family, craving some pumpkin pie….
But what I learned in those years is that our God is always worth celebrating – because He is GOOD! 
So even when it felt like I had nothing but God, He was all I needed to celebrate Thanksgiving in my heart. 
This Thanksgiving I’m looking forward to being with my family for the first time in several years! And though I won’t be indulging in the traditional feast, I will be celebrating the goodness and faithfulness of my God – without turkey. =)
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
    
His love endures forever. -Psalm 118:1
How have you learned to celebrate holidays in spite of E.I. limitations?


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8 Years Later…

In November 2004 my health crashed. Every year since then I have looked back, sometimes with anger, sometimes fear, other times with questions or impatience.
I would never have chosen this path of suffering. However, 8 years later I can look back and say that I’m grateful God chose it for me.
I’m still not quite to the end of this E.I. road, but I’m far enough along that I can see the value of the journey. 
Here’s the post I wrote about it on my other blog this week. I pray my story will encourage you. Wherever you are on the road, don’t give up hope. I believe there is a beautiful place ahead for you. 
God bless you,
-Joanna
A Beautiful Place 
Well, here I am again. Marking another year since my health collapsed in November 2004. Except this year the view is much different! 
Eight years ago my world crumbled and my life journey took a detour I didn’t like and didn’t understand.
But now all the years of suffering are beginning to make sense.
Wayne Watson has a song that says, 
“Sometimes a rough and a rocky road is gonna take you to a beautiful place.”
That’s how I feel today. God has brought me on a more difficult road than I ever expected, to a place that is more beautiful than I ever dreamed possible!
In the last year God has done much healing in my body, praise His name! I’m now able to live an almost normal life, (I’m still not able to work yet, so I’m not quite 100% well).
God has given me a new vision for my future. He’s leading me to a ministry I never imagined and couldn’t have done without experiencing this health trial.
But most of all, God has blessed me with a sweetness in my relationship with Jesus that I can’t even express. I love Him so, so, so, so much! Without the suffering of the last eight years, I’d never have experienced this incredible closeness with Him!
I know what it’s like to live for years in a painful trial and to wonder, question, doubt, and fear. But now I’m coming out on the other side, and I am amazed at what I see.
God always knows what He’s doing. I think His main goal in our trials is transformation. In the midst of suffering we can’t always see His good purposes. But He is continually working in us for our good. And as we come to the other side, we begin to realize how different we are now than when we went in. 
“A rough and a rocky road is gonna lead you to a beautiful place.” 
That beautiful place may include improved circumstances and enjoyable days. Or it may be in the midst of our circumstances that we arrive at the most beautiful place with God we’ve ever experienced.
I can’t thank God enough for the ways He has changed me in the last eight years. I am eternally grateful for the rough and rocky road He used, so that I could experience the joys of this beautiful place with Him!
“Praise our God, O peoples,
    
let the sound of His praise be heard;
He has preserved our lives
    
and kept our feet from slipping.
For you, O God, tested us;
    
you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison
    
and laid burdens on our backs.
You let men ride over our heads;
    
we went through fire and water,
    
but you brought us to a place of abundance.”
-Psalm 66:8-12


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Something Silly

I just found this poem that I wrote several years ago, and it cracked me up. This is what a sugar-free, wheat-free diet can do to you. =) 

Ode To An Oatmeal Raisin Scone 
O how fair you are, most precious of scones!
Your crispy, golden edges shine.
Your rugged texture oozes warmth.
There is joyous nutrition in your ingredients. 
The contents of your substance bring health.
Without sugar or honey, still you are sweet.
As moist as a dewdrop, you melt in my mouth.
Many snacks abound to grab attention,
But you alone have gained my admiration.
I will tell of your goodness.
I will share your recipe with others.
I will enjoy your flavor and benefit from your nourishment.
You are an Oatmeal Raisin Scone.
In you I take great delight!
Those of you who try to eat gluten-free can probably relate. It’s good to keep a sense of humor when your sense of taste is somewhat deprived. =) 
By the way, I do still eat oatmeal scones, but I don’t put raisins in them anymore. Now I make them with shredded coconut and just a bit of honey.


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Toxic Words

Unfortunately chemicals aren’t the only things in life that are toxic. Words can also be toxic.
Recognizing toxic words that others speak to us is usually not too hard. We can tell when someone’s words are healthy or unhealthy. 
I think it’s often harder for us to recognize the toxic words we speak to ourselves. 
It’s true that our brains listen to the words our mouths speak. How often do you say things like,
– I’m so tired
– I’m no good at this
– I’m such a wimp
etc. 
These words are actually toxic to your mind, body and spirit. 
I know what it’s like to live with these kinds of words frequently on my tongue. They can easily become a habit. Thankfully, it is possible to retrain our tongues to speak healthy, life-giving words.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. -Proverbs 16:24
The best way to get rid of toxic words is to consciously replace them with healthy, life-giving words. 
I remember when someone first recommended I use daily positive affirmations. I wasn’t interested. It seemed insincere, even silly to me. But gradually I’ve realized what an amazing tool this is! 
Sometimes we know in our mind and heart that something is true, but we have a hard time really believing it because it hasn’t quite penetrated through our brain patterns yet. As we speak that truth out loud to ourselves every day, it changes the physical pathways in our brain. This in turn changes the physiology of our bodies. It’s incredible! 
So if you struggle with saying toxic things to yourself, try this exercise:
1) Write down at least 3 positive, affirming statements about yourself. 
 Ex: I am full of joy and peace.
      My body is healing every day.
      I can do everything through Jesus who gives me strength. (I especially love to use statements of what God’s Word says about me.) 
2) Write these statements every day – in a journal, on a poster, or wherever you’ll enjoy writing them. 
3) Say or sing these statements to yourself every day (more than once a day if you can). 
4) Anytime you catch yourself saying something toxic, immediately stop and then repeat your statements instead.
I think you’ll be surprised at how beneficial this is. Our words really can bring “healing to the bones.” And as we learn to speak healing words to ourselves, hopefully it will help us speak healing words to others also.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
-Ephesians 4:29
Please share one of your affirming statements in the comments so we can all be encouraged. =)Thanks!

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Meaningful Dreams

Several years ago it began to dawn on me that the strange dreams I was having might be significant. 
One of the first dreams I wondered about was a recurring dream where one of my legs was much shorter than the other, causing me to limp around. 
A few months later I went to a chiropractor who specialized in upper cervical. He had me lay flat and then checked my feet. Sure enough one leg was a fraction shorter than the other. He adjusted my C-1 over a period of weeks until it stayed in place. And I didn’t have that strange dream anymore.
Later I had a recurring dream of me eating chocolate. This was odd because I’d been allergic to chocolate from age 9, so I would never consciously choose to eat it. 
Not long after I’d been having the dream, my herbalogist told me I needed to be eating a small amount of organic dark chocolate every day (I never told her about this dream). Using Dr. Smith’s CBT allergy treatment, I was able to clear the allergy and begin eating chocolate every day. Then the dream stopped.
After these two examples, I paid closer attention to my dreams. And I’ve learned a lot from them over recent years. 
Sometimes I have horrible “toxic” dreams when I’m detoxing chemicals. 
Sometimes my dreams indicate an area of fear or emotional need.
Sometimes my dreams are outright hilarious! (I wrote about some of them here.) 
And sometimes (as described above) my dreams are my brain’s way of telling me something important about my body or my health.
Dreams are strange things, I know. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to think about them. Thankfully, God is the best interpreter of dreams. I’ve learned to ask Him almost every morning when I wake up, “Was that dream meaningful, something I need to pay attention to? If so, please show me.” 
God has used my dreams to make significant changes in my life. I don’t know what your dreams are like, but I imagine at least some of them contain important messages for you. You can ask God for insight. He knows you better than you know yourself. And He can use those meaningful dreams for your benefit.
Question: Have your dreams ever helped you realize something about your health? Or helped you in other ways?