Christmas Hope

I’m so thankful for Christmas and the HOPE that it gives us. 
God sent His Son, Jesus, to this world – 
– so that we could have a Savior. 
– so we could have eternal life. 
– so we could have hope.

Hallelujah! And Merry Christmas!

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. -Ephesians 1:18-19a
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. -Colossians 1:27


My Favorite Things

Even though this EI life is so challenging, I’ve been thinking about the many good gifts God has provided to help me walk this road. So here’s a list of some of my favorite helpful and enjoyable things. =) 
*Peppermint oil – This is one of the few essential oils I’ve been able to use and I LOVE it! I enjoy the smell of it, which is in itself a wonder (since I reacted to any smells for many years, even natural ones). And it’s great for so many things – relieving pain, lifting mood, detoxing, etc. My mom and I use it almost every day, so even when it’s not Christmas season, our house still smells like Christmas! =) 
*Epsom salts – There’s nothing like a foot bath or detox bath in epsom salts to relax you. They’re also great for helping with detoxing. 
*EM1 – A friend told us about this unique product and it’s been so helpful with our laundry! If our clothes get contaminated with chemicals, mold, etc. we soak them in a small amount of EM1 then wash again, and they come out fresh and clean (or at least much better…sometimes we have to soak them twice if it’s a really stubborn chemical). The product information lists many other uses for this as well, though so far we’ve only used it in laundry.
*Charcoal – You can buy charcoal in capsules or powder. We mostly use the capsules. Charcoal binds with/absorbs many different chemicals and toxins. We keep a bottle of capsules in our car. Then if we go somewhere and get exposed to petroleum products, cigarette smoke, or other toxins, we just hold a few capsules in the right hand for 10 minutes. This helps to counteract the exposure. We also put charcoal tablets in new appliances for 10-20 minutes to help them off-gas. Sometimes I even set charcoal out in my room for 15-20 minutes, if I’ve been detoxing a lot and my room feels toxic. It’s a wonderful tool for trying to live non-toxic. 
*Organic dark chocolate – There are a lot of unhealthy foods that I don’t eat, so sometimes it feels like my diet is very limited. But I’m so thankful that organic dark chocolate is actually good for me! =) I usually eat 1 tiny square 2-3 times a day. It gives me a little energy boost and feels like a special treat, all while benefiting my health. Win-win! =) 
*Coconut oil – I use it all the time for cooking, baking, putting on my food, and even as a lotion. I like the flavor. I love the health benefits. And I appreciate having a wonderful multi-purpose product. 
*The beach – We don’t get to go as often as we’d like. But when we do go, I love the fresh ocean breezes, walking in the sand, and watching the waves roll in. It’s very healing and refreshing. =)

Well, those are some of my favorite things. What about you? What’s one of your favorite healthy things?


Breaking Up With Sugar

I know they say that breaking up is hard to do…but sometimes it’s necessary. Especially when it’s with the culprit of sugar. 
I wrote a post about the harmful effects of sugar a few years ago. But with the holidays upon us, I thought this was a good time to address this topic again. 
Not only does sugar negatively affect the body in many different ways, but most people are way over-consuming sugar! 
Some form of added sugar is in almost every prepared food these days. 
“…added sugars hide in 74 percent of processed foods under more than 60 different names!”
Just how much sugar is too much?
“The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend limiting your daily added sugar intake to nine teaspoons (38 grams) for men, and six teaspoons (25 grams) for women. The limits for children range from three to six teaspoons (12 – 25 grams) per day, depending on age…and I strongly recommend limiting your daily fructose intake to 25 grams or less from all sources, including natural sources such as fruit—regardless of whether you’re male or female.”
I eat almost completely sugar-free, but even then I probably get close to these numbers. I eat fruit every day, use honey in my non-yeast bread, and occasionally have an organic granola bar, which contains 9 grams of sugar.
The reason these numbers are so important is because of how our bodies work.
“The main problem with sugar, and processed fructose in particular, is the fact that your liver has a very limited capacity to metabolize it. According to Dr. Lustig, you can safely metabolize about six teaspoons of added sugar per day. As mentioned, the average American consumes 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day. All that excess sugar is metabolized into body fat, and leads to all of the chronic metabolic diseases we struggle with….”
The human body is not made to handle the high amounts of sugar people eat today. That’s why “sugar consumption in America is one of the 3 major causes of degenerative disease.” 
Many people say, “Well, I don’t eat much sugar.” But when you ask a few more questions, you realize they are consuming a LOT more sugar than they realize. “Sugar” isn’t just cookies or candy. It’s in almost every processed food, like tomato sauce, crackers, etc. If you read every label and added up how many grams a day you’re consuming, it would probably be well over the recommended amount. 
The kind of sugar you consume is also important. High fructose corn syrup is probably the worst kind of sugar (see my previous post here). White table sugar runs a close second. However, things like fruit, honey, and even small amounts of real maple syrup have various health benefits – as long as they aren’t over-consumed.
This time of year it seems like the sugar is flowing freely at every event and place you go. But I hope you’ll consider what a gift you’ll be giving your body, your health, and your loved ones if you break up with sugar. =) 


Mercury In Your Teeth

Before my health crashed, two people in my extended family had the mercury fillings removed from their teeth. Then they both had dramatic recoveries of their health. (I never had any fillings put in my teeth, so this wasn’t a factor for my health challenges.) 
The fact is that mercury is highly poisonous. It’s a neurotoxin, which means it damages the brain. It also damages the nervous system, the kidneys, and more. It is especially dangerous for children, pregnant women (negatively affects the baby), the elderly, those with neurological problems, etc.
Mercury fillings are toxic and dangerous, yet many dentists are still ignorant or try to tell you these filings are harmless. Here are the facts:
“Dental amalgam is a primitive filling material made of between 43 and 54 percent mercury. Amalgam fillings are commonly called as “silver fillings” – a marketing term that deceives many consumers into believing that amalgam is mainly silver, which is only a minor component of amalgam. 
Amalgam is not stable after it is implanted into human teeth – it constantly releases mercury vapor into your body.  And this mercury bioaccumulates.”
Mercury fillings also expand over time and can cause cracks in teeth requiring more dental work. 
And, mercury fillings are unnecessary since there are other healthier options.
“Amalgam is interchangeable with numerous other filling materials – including resin composites, compomers, and glass ionomers – that have rendered amalgam completely unnecessary for any clinical situation.” 
So there’s really no good reason to keep using mercury fillings, yet many dentists still do. It’s so important for your health and your family’s health to protect yourselves from mercury fillings! If you don’t know about your dentist, just ask what they use. Or look for a natural dentist. This website has a directory of mercury-free dentists by state.
For more reasons to choose a mercury-free dentist you can read this article or watch the short video on this website:
If you know you have mercury fillings, I encourage you to consider having them removed. However, be cautious in this endeavor. Some dentists take little to no precautions for this procedure, or even replace the old fillings with new ones that still have mercury! One natural health writer had this experience. He later had to have the procedure done again by a trusted dentist to remove the mercury fillings that supposedly were taken out the first time. This time his dentist followed a very careful procedure, including oxygen for the patient, and respirator masks for the dentists. You can read his story here. He also shares some things he did before and after the procedure to help his body handle the removal of the mercury (including high dose vit. C before and charcoal after). 
For detailed suggestions on how dentists should safely remove mercury filings, check out this website:
Be sure that the dentist you chose knows what he’s doing, and research him/her to make sure they have no bad reviews of their work. Also, expect that your body will have a transition/detox period. I think the people I knew felt dramatically improved in their health in less than a month. It takes time, but the more healthy habits and detox therapies you can use, the easier it will be for your body to recover.
Getting the mercury out of your teeth is definitely a good step toward better health. For some people it’s the big step they need to return to good health. For others, it’s not the sole cure, but it is a significant piece of the puzzle. 
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any questions please post them in the comments. 


Thankful For You

On this beautiful Thanksgiving day, I just want to say that I am thankful for you! 
I’m thankful for your presence and light in this world.
I’m thankful that you care about health. 
I’m thankful that you care about people.
I’m thankful for what God is doing in your life through all the trials. 
I’m thankful for your support and prayers. 
I’m thankful that I can serve you in this small way of keeping this blog.

I continue to pray for better health for all of us! But most of all for life that is ever sweeter in Jesus, regardless of our circumstances. I’m thankful that His grace abounds, so much more than our needs!
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. -2 Corinthians 9:8
Thank you for sharing this journey with me. To express my appreciation for you, I’ll be happy to send a free ebook copy (as a pdf download) of my book, Seeing God Through The Storm to anyone who leaves a comment on this post today, tomorrow (Friday) or Saturday. 
And here’s a song by Robin Mark that I’ve been listening to a lot lately. It’s a good reminder of the many things we do have to be thankful for because of God’s grace, in spite of the difficulties in this world. I hope it blesses you.

Happy Thanksgiving. =) 


Have A Healthy Kitchen

This time of year there’s usually a lot of cooking, baking and eating going on. =) So here are a few tips on keeping a healthy kitchen.
*Healthy dishes – 
Use glass dishes, cups, baking dishes, etc. Or use made in the USA corelle dishes or ceramic dishes, bowls, mugs, etc. Be sure to read labels and avoid any dishes made in China, as they often have high levels of toxins. 
Use stainless steel pots and pans. Avoid all teflon or non-stick coated dishes. 
Use stainless steel silverware and utensils. If you read labels, you can usually find some not made in China. 
Avoid plastic dishes, cups and silverware, as they can leach harmful chemicals including BPA and phtalates. (Here’s a good article about the dangers of plastic dishes.) 
If you buy foods in plastic containers or buy bottled water, be sure to check them and look for the less-toxic plastic. Plastic bottles and containers should have a number on the bottom or somewhere indicating what kind of plastic has been used. Numbers 3, 6, and 7 are the worst, containing dangerous chemicals that leach more easily. Plastic numbers 1, 2, 4, and 5 are less toxic, but glass containers are still the best. 
*Healthy cooking – 
Never microwave foods or liquids. If you haven’t read it before, here’s my post on why you should say goodbye to your microwave.
Use butter or coconut oil for cooking, never margarine or “vegetable oil” which are toxic to the body. 
Try to cook meats within 24 hours of purchasing if possible. Meat that sits in the fridge for several days can grow bacteria, mold, etc. 
Once you cut an onion, don’t store part of it in the fridge to use later. Onions attract bacteria, so they must be used as soon as they are cut, or you may eat the bacteria and get an infection. 
*Healthy food storage – 
Use cellophane bags (less-toxic) instead of plastic ziploc bags. Use glass jars or glass dishes for food storage instead of plastic tupperware.
Store leftovers in the freezer, unless they’ll be eaten within 24 hours. Mold begins to grow on food very quickly in a refrigerator, so storing food in the freezer is the better option. (Tips for using your freezer to eat healthier.) 
*Healthy clean up – 
Use baking soda or non-toxic dish soap for washing dishes. Use Heinz vinegar for wiping off counters. Avoid chemical cleaners, anti-bacterial sprays, bleach, etc. Also, if you do use plastic dishes, don’t put them in the dishwasher, as it will cause them to leach more chemicals. (And never put plastic water bottles in the dishwasher to reuse.)
Well, these are just a few tips. I hope they’re helpful. Feel free to add anything else you can think of in the comments. =)


Tips For Staying Healthy This Winter

With the first snows fallen and arctic air blowing across much of the country, I thought it would be good to repost this article about staying healthy in winter. I hope it’s helpful. Please add any other tips you think of.

Have a Healthy Winter

Here in Florida, summer lasted longer than usual this year. But for many people I know winter is well on its way. So here are some tips to help you in preparing for a healthy winter. (They’re useful any time of year, but especially during winter.)
*Avoid unhealthy foods.
Winter is a key time to give extra support to your immune system, and diet directly affects the immune system. There’s a very good article on the Beyond Organic Insider blog about the dangers of sugar, including how it damages your immune system. With the holidays coming, sugar is often the main course. So as much as possible, help your immune system by saying no to sugar. Try to avoid unhealthy foods in general, such as processed foods, fried foods, candy, sweets, sodas, processed dairy, etc. Keep eating healthy foods, and don’t feel bad about not eating the cookies at every event you go to. =) 
*Monitor your indoor air quality.
As people start using their fireplaces, smoke can be a problem. If you have cracks around doors or windows, aluminum foil tape is a great tool. Just peel off the backing and tape it wherever needed to keep out smells. We have it around both front and back doors. (It’s also useful for covering up toxins you can’t remove, such as the pipes we just had replaced in the bathroom.) You can find aluminum foil tape online. We usually order it from Foust.
Also try to air out your house often, whenever the weather is clear and dry. Indoor air can quickly become stale in winter. Keep it fresh as much as possible. Use these tips for eliminating any smells. 
*Use foods as medicine.
Organic coconut oil is anti-viral, onions are anti-bacterial, and garlic is anti-fungal (many other foods fit in these categories as well). Besides cooking with these foods, you can use them other ways as well. 
You can rub organic coconut oil on your feet if you’re fighting a general viral infection. Or you can rub it on wherever a viral infection has localized – sinuses, throat, stomach, etc. (Just remember that a little coconut oil goes a long way. You probably only need a few drops, unless you have very dry skin. And yes, it makes a good lotion as well.)
Also, simply holding an onion in your right hand for 10-15 minutes can help your body fight off a bacterial infection. Likewise, holding a few garlic cloves in your right hand can help fight off fungal infections. In fact, many winter infections are fungal, even though they’re often treated as viral or bacterial. That’s one reason a healthy, anti-fungal diet is so helpful in winter. (Just be sure to throw away the onion or garlic after holding it as it is no longer safe to eat.)
*Be sure you’re getting enough vitamin D.
Many people don’t get enough sun exposure during the winter, thus are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Be intentional about getting sun on your skin and consider supplementing with vitamin D if necessary for your situation. This article has some helpful tips for keeping vitamin D levels up through the winter.
*Keep moving!
Continue exercising and doing lymphatic massage. The natural tendency is to slow down during winter, which is ok as long as you’re still moving enough and getting healthy sleep. The body needs movement to keep the lymph flowing and the immune system functioning well. Find a form of exercise that works for you and keep at it.
*Have fun!
Most of all keep smiling, laugh a lot, be silly, sing every day, have fun, and celebrate the special joys that come with the winter season. =)
What tips do you have for enjoying a healthy winter?

EI Shopper’s Thankful List

Since Thanksgiving is this month, I thought it would be good to list some of the stores/suppliers that I’m very thankful for as I try to live healthy in these challenging times.
So here’s my Thankful Shopper’s Top Ten list. Maybe it’ll help you find some healthier shopping options as well. =)
1) Publix grocery store 
They sell a lot of organic foods now. I can get organic fresh and frozen veggies, organic fruit, healthier eggs, chicken and turkey. They also carry many other good products like organic and gluten-free flours, organic apple cider vinegar, etc. And they have excellent customer service. =)
(If you don’t live in the southeast where Publix is, there are probably other similar stores in your area.)
2) Super Target
They carry the grass-fed beef I like to eat (Laura’s Lean beef). They also still have the gallon jugs of Heinz brand vinegar. (The other stores quit carrying it for some reason.) I pretty much clean off the vinegar shelf every time I’m in there. =) And they still carry the quality bottled water we drink, and often put it on sale. Hooray! 
3) Our three local health food stores.
We can usually find whatever we need at one of these stores. Sometimes supplements are cheaper with online retailers, but many products we can get on sale or use coupons for at these stores.
There are some franchise health food stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, but a lot of cities also have small, independent health food stores that are often even better, with helpful service, local produce, etc.
4) Local Farmer’s Market
Ours meets every Monday evening. It’s about 40 minutes away, but it’s worth it to get organic, raw dairy products and other goodies. 
You can always search online to find a farmer’s market in your area.
5) Wal-Mart
I’m so thankful that Wal-Mart still carries 100% cotton clothes, not made in China! I buy most of my clothes here and they often have good sales. They also sell notebooks made in the USA, paper plates with no BPA, and toothbrushes for sensitive teeth, made in Switzerland. 
Of course they still sell a lot of toxic and made in China products. But if you take the time and read labels you can find a lot of useful and inexpensive everyday products.
6) Sam’s Club
They carry the 13.5 lb bags of baking soda for less cost than other stores. With how much baking soda we use, we’re very thankful for this store. =)
The next three business I’ve mentioned before several times on this blog.
They have discount supplements, shower filters, cellophane bags (instead of plastic ziploc bags) and more.
They sell the air purifiers and replacement filters we have found to be most helpful for us. They also carry the dennyfoil and aluminum tape, which are indispensable products for keeping the home non-toxic.
9) Janice’s
They sell organic, 100% cotton fabric, sheets, pillows, clothes, etc. I’m so thankful for this company and their high quality products, so that I can have healthy sleep. 
And last but not least,
Believe it or not, they actually have many good products. If I can’t find something locally or with one of the above retailers, I always check amazon. I’ve found 100% cotton rugs, not made in China. I’ve found affordable shoes and sunglasses made in Italy. I also buy my special organic chocolate here. They pretty much offer anything you can think of. Of course I prefer to support local businesses, but when necessary, I’m very thankful for Amazon’s wide array of products.
Well, that’s my thankful shopper’s list! =)
Do you have any stores/suppliers you’d like to add?


Let Your Light Shine

This time of year it seems like there’s more activity of darkness than usual. My mom and I often feel an increase of spiritual oppression and attack during October. I’m always grateful when November 1st comes and the focus turns to being thankful instead of ‘celebrating’ evil. 
The fact is that Satan will not stop his agenda of stealing and destroying as long as the earth endures. While it’s tempting to want to ignore him, I think the Bible is clear that we are both commissioned and equipped to overcome his evil tactics.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. -Romans 12:21
Those of us who believe in Jesus now live in God’s light. 
When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” -John 8:12
We never again have to wander through spiritual darkness. And we have all we need to let God’s glorious light shine through us. 
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. -2 Corinthians 4:6-7
Jesus lives in us. His light can shine through us to a world wandering in darkness. 
I know sometimes dealing with chronic illness can feel so limiting, so frustrating, like we’ve been robbed of so many things that ‘normal’ people take for granted. But Satan can never rob us of the light of Jesus living in us!! 
So I pray that whatever you’re going through this week, you’ll take some time today to focus on Jesus and to ask Him to shine His light through you. It doesn’t have to be something big or difficult. 
*You can sing a praise song softly in your room. Other people may not hear it, but the spiritual forces of good and evil will hear it and Jesus will shine. 
*You can spend a few minutes praying for those still lost in darkness, or for those fighting hard to overcome evil in dark places around the world.
*You can quietly speak a blessing over people you pass in the store or parking lot.
*You can send a card or email to let someone know they are loved. 
*You can put a sign on your front door that says “Jesus loves you!” =)
There are so many ways that Jesus can shine His light through us. And as we each hold up our little candle flame, the light of Christ will shine brighter and brighter! 

My friend, you are irreplaceable in this world! Don’t listen to Satan’s lies. Remember who God says you are and bravely let your light shine!


Updates, Praises and Prayer Requests

I think it’s been about six months since I shared prayer requests on here. I thought it would be good to update you on some of the people you’ve prayed for in the past, with some praises and some new requests. 
Praises – 
*D & G – one of my friends with EI and his mom who was taking care of him.
 Praise God that D is now MUCH improved! He’s been able to be out and about and has joy and hope in his ongoing recovery. Hooray! =) 
*KT – a friend with various health challenges.
 Praise God that her husband was miraculously healed of two years of depression! We are SO happy and rejoicing with her! 
*W – EI friend who didn’t have a safe place to live and was barely surviving.
 She found answers at last and with some oxygen therapy she is almost completely recovered! 
Praise God that He is still at work and still powerful to heal! 
Prayer Requests – 
*S & N – twin brothers who’ve had EI since high school. 
 Next week is their 40th birthday. They’re still in essentially the same situation as when I met them 5 years ago. 
 Please pray for much grace and encouragement for them as they face this milestone of turning 40 with little visible hope for the future. I KNOW God has good plans for them, though it’s hard to see right now. 
*A – my dear friend who has fought the long battle of lyme and all its repercussions.
 She’s nearing the finish line of her journey. I rejoice that she will soon be with Jesus and be completely healed and full of life! Yet those of us blessed to know her will miss her dearly.
 Please pray for endurance through her final days, and for comfort for her loved ones as they say goodbye for now. 
*S & T – my friend who’s been taking care of her son with severe chronic pain. 
 S’s husband had serious heart trouble and spent three weeks in the hospital. He’s now on a transplant list. T is still very ill with the chronic pain. As you can imagine, S is overwhelmed with the needs and concern for her husband and son. 
 Please pray for supernatural strength and peace for S, and for healing for her husband and son. 
*KM – friend with chronic fatigue and other ongoing health challenges.
 She has an appointment scheduled with Dr. Smith in November. 
 Please pray she’ll have strength to make the trip to Idaho for the appointment. Also that Dr. Smith will have wisdom and his treatments will be very helpful!
Thank you for praying for these dear ones. As always, if you have a prayer request, please feel free to leave it in the comments or send me an email. 
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer (1 Peter 3:12).