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All About Allergies

I think most people associate “allergies” with things like sneezing, hay fever or breaking out in hives. While these are common manifestations, allergies actually encompass a much bigger picture.
I found this basic definition online for allergies: “an immune response or reaction to substances that are usually not harmful.”
While this is true, in reality the body can have a negative response (or allergy) to any substance. And symptoms are not limited to sneezing or itching. 
For example, a close friend of mine is “allergic” to certain weather patterns. How he feels day to day depends on high or low pressure systems, rain, clouds, etc. Certain weather causes depression and worsens his chronic fatigue. 
Another friend of mine is so “allergic” to electricity that she doesn’t even own a computer, DVD player, cell phone, etc. Being around excess electricity causes her skin to burn (it feels like it’s on fire). 
Both of my friends have lived with these allergies for years. Yes, these are unusual examples, but I hope they help you understand allergies in a broader sense. 
If you know my story, you’ve heard how for a while I was literally allergic to everything – foods, fabrics, paper, plastics, jewelry, minerals, vitamins, rocks and even water! My symptoms stretched across the spectrum from headaches and brain fog, to fibromyalgia and arthritis, to difficulty breathing and panic attacks. 
As the definition above states, an allergy is an immune response or reaction. I’ve come to understand that it’s also a brain response. For some reason the brain identifies a substance as “harmful” and then reacts accordingly, so you will avoid that substance in the future. 
With harmless things like carrots or oak trees, there is no actual danger. Yet your brain/body has perceived a danger on some level. For this kind of allergy, I highly recommend Dr. Smith’s CBT treatment, which basically tells the brain that the specific item is indeed safe and a reaction is no longer necessary. Using this method I have cleared my brain/body of numerous allergies, praise God! 
With harmful substances, like mold, toxic perfumes or fabric softener, the reaction is actually meant to be a good thing. Your brain is trying to protect you from being exposed to toxins, which are a genuine threat to your health. For this, I recommend avoidance as much as possible as well as using the DNRS brain retraining program. With these brain exercises I’ve worked at retraining my brain. This helps the brain not cause an allergic reaction to toxic things anymore, since I am able to protect myself consciously, by avoiding things I know are toxic. I’m careful to live as toxin-free as possible, so that when I do encounter a toxic substance, I can remind my brain that I’m strong enough to get through it – without a reaction.
In my opinion, allergies are a warning sign from the body that all is not well. If your immune system is labeling harmless things as dangerous, then it’s clearly not functioning as it should. And if toxic exposures cause reactions, then you’re probably overloaded with toxins, beyond what your body can handle. 
So let’s get practical. 
1) Have you ever considered you might be allergic to something uncommon? Such as silver or diamonds? Paper or plastic? Calcium or vitamin B?
2) What physical symptoms have you had for months (or years) that you try to ignore? Could they be from an allergy to something you never thought of before? 
3) If you know you have allergies, then examine the current state of your immune system–is it crying out for help? Also examine the amount of toxins in your everyday life–do you need to detoxify your home and/or your body? 
4) What can you do with this information to take a step forward with your health today?
Many well-qualified people have written huge books on allergies. I’m trying to share just a little of what I know about them. I pray it’s helpful. 
I’ll probably write another post next week with more thoughts on allergies. Do you have any questions about allergies that you’d like me to address?

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Vegetable Soup Recipe

With these cold winter evenings, I love having a nice bowl of soup for supper. My favorite is my mom’s vegetable soup. So I thought I’d share her recipe with you today. Enjoy! =)

Vegetable Beef Soup
Start with 3 lbs of beef stew meat (we use Laura’s Beef brand since it’s high quality organic meat)
Cut the meat in small pieces (unless you buy it already cut up)
Put about 2 Tbl organic coconut oil in the bottom of a pressure sauce pan. 
Add meat and slightly brown.
Add about 3 cups of water, put the lid on and cook on high heat until the pressure cock begins to make noise, then reduce the heat and cook for about 20 minutes. 
While the meat is cooking, wash, peel & chop:
 – 6 large organic potatoes
 – 5-6 organic carrots
 – a small head of organic cabbage 
optional: 1/2 cup organic celery, 1 small onion chopped, 1 clove chopped garlic
(Note: if you can’t afford to buy all organic vegetables, then at least be sure to get organic celery since it is high on the pesticide list, or leave it out. Onions are lowest on the list of pesticide residues, so it’s not as vital to use organic ones.)
When the meat is done, add the vegetables and hot water until the pan is 2/3 full. Also add 1/2 to 1 cup of organic tomato juice and salt to taste. 
(Many tomatoes are now genetically modified, so it’s important to use organic ones or organic tomato juice.)
You can also add various spices if you like – my mom likes to add 1 bay leaf, a pinch of sage and pinch of rosemary to taste. (I prefer it plain without any spices.)
Put the lid back on and return to high heat until the pressure cock makes noise again. (This may take a while.) Then reduce heat and cook for 8 minutes. 
Note: If you don’t have a pressure sauce pan, then simmer the meat in 3-4 cups of water til done. Then add more water, vegetables and spices and cook until they’re done. This will take longer than using the pressure pan.
Well, that’s it. Any questions? Let me know how you like it. =) 

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Peace in Surrender

Today I want to share a little short story I wrote a few years ago, as a result of my own journey from despair to surrender to hope. 

Surrender
For once, there was nothing she could do about it. Her body had betrayed her. No more serving others. No more pushing through the pain. She barely had strength to breathe.

“Katelyn?” Her husband roused her. “Time for another doctor’s appointment.”

She nodded. He carried her to the car. Her life seemed blurry, like the trees flashing by the window.

Out of the car. Into the clinic.

“…no idea what’s wrong…try these pills….”

Out of the clinic. Into the car. How long could this go on?

Home again. Sleep. Eat. Sleep. Pray. Yes, time to pray.

“God, I’ve served you for years. What are you doing to me?”

Silence.

“I’ve always helped others. Why isn’t there help for me?”

No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

“Lord, what kind of answer is that? How can this be good?” Tears trickled down her face. “Please, Jesus. Help me believe it. If this is your good plan for me, help me accept it. Your will, not mine.”

The peace of surrender settled on her soul. Whatever happened, she was in His hands.

Days dragged by. No change.

Those who trust in me will not be disappointed.

“Yes, Lord. I’ll trust you.”

The doorbell rang. A cheerful, suntanned face appeared.

“Darcy?” Her sister, the jungle doctor, here?

“Yes, sister dear! Don’t worry.” She hugged Katelyn gently. “I’m here to take care of you. I don’t care what those doctors say. I know you’re fixable.”

Her sister’s joyful confidence gave her the gift of hope.

Fixable?

Katelyn smiled. “Thank you,” she whispered.

Darcy kissed her cheek. “You rest while I unpack.”

Katelyn gazed upward. “Thank you, Father – for Darcy, for whatever your plan is, for your peace. I trust you.”

She closed her eyes and slept. 
Having been through years of terrible suffering, I know the doubts and questions that assail us. Yet after all I’ve experienced and seen, I believe that most of us are indeed “fixable.” That’s why I keep going with this blog. I want to give you all the help, information, and encouragement I can. There is so much we can do to recover good health!
And for those who are, for different reasons, unable to experience recovery, God still gives hope. When we surrender our lives to Jesus, He gives us the promise of eternal life with Him – where there will be no more sickness, pain or tears.
I thank God that through surrender, we find peace, and receive the gift of hope.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. -Revelation 21:4
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Dangers of Aspartame

This week my mom was telling me about a news program she saw that was warning of the dangers of aspartame. In spite of the fact that aspartame has been proven to be toxic to humans, it’s still legal and used widely. So even if you’ve heard this warning about aspartame before, I wanted to bring it up again. 

Dr. Mercola has an excellent article that breaks down the three ingredients of aspartame (aspartic acid, phenylalanine & methanol) and the specific ways they poison the body – resulting in many serious conditions including seizures, neurological disorders, brain tumors, depression, cancer, retinal damage, and much more.
If that’s not enough, aspartame is also highly addictive and more likely to lead to weight gain – which of course defeats the purpose of consuming so-called “diet” foods and drinks that contain aspartame.
When I read the facts about aspartame it boggles my mind that anyone would willingly put such poison in their body! Yet many people are simply unaware. Aspartame is used in over 6,000 products. If you aren’t alert to watch for it, you could be unknowingly consuming it yourself. 
Here’s a list of some of the main products aspartame is used in:
diet sodas
yogurts
chewing gum
flavored water
cereals
sugar-free products (like jellos, mixes, etc.)
drink powders
cooking sauces 
and of course, artificial sweeteners like NutraSweet & equal
(you can read more about this list here)
Aspartame is everywhere, and it’s not going away any time soon. So PLEASE make a habit of reading every label of food and drinks you consume. Take responsibility for your health. Don’t assume that if it’s sold in stores it’s safe. 
If you’re already very careful to avoid aspartame, then please pass this warning along to others. One of the simplest things we can do for our health is to just stop ingesting poisons that are wrongly considered “safe.” 
Let’s press on toward good health!


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Time To Make Some Changes

The start of a new year is a great time to pause and evaluate. 
What have I been doing for my health? 
How well is it working? 
What changes could I make? 
If what you’ve been doing is working well and you’re seeing improvement, then rejoice and keep up the good work! =) 
If what you’ve been doing isn’t working, then maybe consider trying some new things. 
If you know what to do but haven’t been doing it, then make a plan to help put your knowledge into action. Remember, start somewhere and do what you can. 
I know setting goals can be tricky with chronic illness. But I do think it’s good to consider what positive changes we can possibly make.
I plan to continue with most of what I’ve been doing (lymphatic massage, detox baths, grounding, exercise, etc.). However, I’m also planning to read a new health book and try a new supplement this month. 
Progress requires knowledge and action. So,  
*What will you do this year to keep learning about health? 
(Here’s a good ebook my mom read recently by a man who shares how he overcame chronic illness. Also, HEAL is a great organization with tons of information and a very informative newsletter.)
*Is there anything you can do to further detoxify your home? 
(Perhaps it’s time to switch to stainless steel pots & pans and get rid of toxic teflon ones. Or replace dangerous mercury lightbulbs—CFL’s–with regular filament ones.)
*What is the most important thing you can do for your health this year?
(Maybe work with a new health consultant, try the DNRS brain retraining program, or finally start practicing a weekly “Sabbath“.
*Who can you ask to help motivate and encourage you in your health journey? 
(If you don’t have anyone, I’d be happy to pray for you! Just leave a comment or send me an email.)
I love the start of a new year! So many possibilities ahead! I hope and pray this will be a year of much healing and progress for us all. 
Keep fighting the good fight. 
P.S. Since only two people commented on last week’s post and Giveaway, I decided to send them both an ebook copy of Grace In Time Of Need. Enjoy! =)