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Blogging break

Hello my friends, I just wanted to post a quick note that I’ll be taking a break from blogging for a few weeks. Some of you know that my family has been going through quite a crisis lately. My mom was very sick and now apparently there’s mold somewhere in our house. So while our lives are in upheaval, I’ll be focusing on other things. But hopefully I’ll be back to blogging in January. In the meantime, we sure appreciate your prayers!
God bless.

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What It’s Like…

Recently I came across something I wrote several years ago. It was when I was very ill and didn’t have any answers yet. I thought maybe you could relate. And I thought maybe it would be something you could share with friends or family to help them understand a little better.

I praise God for how far He’s brought me! But I still need Him every day. And He’s still here for me, every day.

Here’s there for you too.
God bless.

    I’m Walking

“How are you doing?” my friend asks me.

I pause before answering as a thousand thoughts run through my head.

I know my friend asks because she cares, but how can I explain to her in a moment the pain, loss, and struggle I’m going through? It’s not easy to put into words.

How am I doing? How do I really feel?

Well…I’m exhausted, too tired to stand up. Though I’m always resting, I feel like I’ve just run a marathon. My head pounds, and fever burns my eyes. My joints and muscles throb with pain and inflammation. I feel like an old woman, barely able to shuffle through each day. I’m too weak to cry.

This constant pain and continual weakness has led to discouragement and despair. I must accept the loss of my life as I knew it. No more sports, hobbies, or social life. No more work, ministry, or service. Every day I have to watch carefully what I eat, where I go, and what I do, for fear it might be the straw that breaks me. Limitation is my middle name. I am trapped in the prison of my body. 

Daily I struggle with hopelessness, the temptation to give up, the fear that things will never change. I feel alone, like an outsider. Always watching others, unable to participate in normal activities. I am reduced to a spectator in life.

Some days I remember that I’m not the only one in this world who is suffering. Others around me have lost their health, a loved one, job, ministry, or something else. I know they are struggling too. Yet we seldom connect. We just float around each other, stuck in our individual bubbles of painful circumstances. Wishing things were different, yet feeling helpless to change the way things are.

Yet in this place, I still cling to hope. Even when I’m too weary to care anymore, I know there is someone who cares for me. His name is Jehovah Jireh – the Lord who Provides. His provision often comes in unexpected ways…little gifts that remind me I am not forgotten, abandoned, or forsaken. He provides what I need just when I need it.

He gives me grace to let the tears flow. He sends a friend who steps into my world and cries with me. At His prompting, someone sends a card with Scripture that encourages my heart. He causes birds to sing outside my window, reminding me to worship. Flowers from a family member bring to mind His care of the lilies of the field. All of these good gifts come from my loving, heavenly Father. Even in the worst situation, He is my faithful provider.

So, how am I doing? I’m living through some very difficult circumstances one day at a time, by the grace of God, held in His loving arms, trusting in His faithfulness to meet my every need. In other words, I’m walking by faith. And though it isn’t easy, it’s the best way to live.

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How Can I Serve You Better?

This fall I’ve been inspired with new plans and dreams. I feel that the dawning of a new season is coming soon! I’m excited about what God has in store for me in the near future.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity I’ve had to serve you through this blog. I’m always encouraged when I hear from people who’ve been helped by it. That makes the time and emotional investment so worth it! =)

As I think about the changes I want to make in my goals and plans for the future, I’d love to hear from you about how I can serve you better.

Would you do me a favor and take a few minutes to reply to the following questions? You can post your answers in the comments or email them to me. It’ll help me know how to move forward more effectively.

Thanks so much!

1. What is the most helpful/enjoyable thing for you about this blog?

2. Are there certain topics you’d like me to write more about? Or less about?

3. How often would you like to receive new posts…
 every other week, once a week, more than once a week…?

4. Is the blog mobile-friendly? Do you like the appearance/format of it?

5. How often do you recommend this blog to others or share specific blog posts? What prompts you to share or not share?

6. What suggestions do you have for me to improve the blog to meet your current needs?

7. What are you thankful for today?
(Ok, this one’s just for fun.) =)

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The Great Coffee Debate

For years people have debated whether coffee is bad for your health or good for your health. Personally I’m not a coffee drinker, don’t even like the smell of it. But I know that many people view coffee as necessary to life. =)

So I did some research for you. I found this article from 2010 which lists 8 reasons not to drink coffee, and I think they are valid reasons.

Then I found this article from 2015 that says coffee can be good for your heart, brain, etc.

Both articles cite studies to back up their claims. Clearly there’s conflicting “data” on this topic. I’m sure it’s hard to get accurate studies only about coffee when people’s lifestyles are so varied and results of drinking coffee can be different from person to person.

However, there are some important, agreed-upon, facts about coffee that can guide your decision:

1) Coffee is a heavily sprayed crop (97% of it according to Dr. Mercola).
Unless you buy certified organic coffee from a trusted source, you need to know that what you’re drinking contains several dangerous toxins – including pesticides, herbicides, toxic fertilizers, and sometimes mycotoxins (toxins from mold, which are even more poisonous than many heavy metals).

These poisonous chemicals are linked to all kinds of health problems including various cancers, Parkinson’s, miscarriages, endocrine problems, etc. So saying coffee is good for your heart or brain is not true of non-organic coffee because of the toxins it contains, which are actually quite damaging to the heart, brain and the rest of the body.

2) Adding sugar, dairy and/or non-dairy creamers to your coffee is definitely unhealthy.
Sugar, especially first thing in the morning, spikes insulin levels and over time contributes to insulin resistance – a major indicator of disease and health decline. (For more info on that, here’s a great article.)

While I think organic, raw dairy products can be healthy for many people, conventional dairy has many problems. And research indicates that putting dairy in your coffee interferes with the body’s absorption of the healthy antioxidants in the coffee. So any benefit is basically cancelled.

Finally, non-dairy creamers are highly unhealthy. Just read the list of ingredients: partially hydrogenated soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, natural flavors (which can include things like MSG – which is very toxic), etc. For more details on the dangers of non-dairy creamers, check out this article.

3) Caffeine is bad for pregnant women.
Some doctors say it’s ok to drink coffee in moderation while pregnant. However, Dr. Mercola advises never to drink coffee while pregnant, because caffeine easily passes through the placenta to the baby, who does not have the ability to detox it. I would think that erring on the side of caution is always best in this situation.

4) If you do drink coffee, be sure to use non-bleached filters. 
The bright white filters are bleached with chlorine and contain dangerous disinfection byproducts such as dioxin. These toxins then leach into the coffee during brewing.

I realize it’s sad that in today’s world you can’t just drink a cup of coffee that’s free of toxins. But I hope this information is helpful for you in finding a healthy form of coffee, or in encouraging you to wean yourself off of it and find better, healthier sources of energy and antioxidants. Because if you can’t function in the morning without a cup of coffee, then your body is trying to tell you something.

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If You Can’t Pronounce It, Avoid It

For the last few years I was using a wonderful organic shampoo that was homemade by a small business. It only had 6 ingredients and no fragrance, plus it worked great in my hair! I was SO thankful for this awesome product! Then as of August, the company was no longer in business. =(

So I began searching for an organic shampoo to replace it. I read almost every shampoo label in the health food store. I scoured the internet. Weeks and weeks of searching and I still haven’t found a satisfactory product. In fact, I was shocked by what is sold as “organic” shampoo. The only truly chemical-free product I found was made out of olive oil, but it had borax in it. I don’t have a great history with borax, so I didn’t want to try that one.

Otherwise, these so-called “organic” and “natural” shampoos still contain various ingredients that are chemical or toxic in nature. You wouldn’t believe the kind of ingredients I found in “organic” baby shampoos even! I guess companies assume that if they label their product as “natural” or “organic” consumers won’t bother to read the labels and investigate the ingredients.

So, I’ve decided that my basic rule of thumb is this – “If you can’t pronounce it, then you better avoid it.”

In the process of my search I found this great website that has a list of many of those unpronounceable ingredients. I think it’s a great resource for when you need info on a specific chemical. This link is for the information on an ingredient called “phenoxyethanol.” When I read that on a baby shampoo label, I was pretty sure it couldn’t be a “natural” ingredient. I was correct. Here’s the info on it, rather scary if you ask me.
http://chemicaloftheday.squarespace.com/todays-chemical/2011/2/28/phenoxyethanol.html

The Environmental Working Group also has a helpful database, which lists specific details about all kinds of cosmetic products and what toxic rating each product has. I found the info in this database enlightening, but unfortunately I still didn’t find a suitable shampoo.
http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

For the moment I’m using a “natural” shampoo that has less than 10 ingredients. Unfortunately it does contain parabens, a kind of preservative used in many cosmetics. (Parabens are endocrine disruptors and have been linked to breast cancer.) Thankfully, I found out this month that my organic shampoo maker is back in business! So hopefully I’ll soon have my healthy shampoo again. In the meantime, I encourage you to read the labels on your shampoo and find the least toxic option you can. And with all your personal care products, remember this rule of thumb:
If you can’t pronounce, better avoid it.”

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New Cancer Resource

Just a quick post today to let you know about a great new resource. It’s a series of documentaries called “The Truth About Cancer.” It includes interviews with health experts from all over the world! (Including some experts I already knew about and highly respect, such as Jordan Rubin and Dr. Mercola.) All nine episodes of this docu-series will be free to watch online for a limited time.

If you click on this link, you can sign up by email to receive notification for each new episode:
https://go.thetruthaboutcancer.com/?a_aid=550894055d93f

I realize cancer can be a controversial topic, but I think this series of documentaries provides, at the least, a different perspective on cancer, and at best a lot of helpful information and useful tools.

Below is the video of Episode 2: “Cancer Facts and Fictions, Breast Cancer, Hormones, Skin Cancer & Essential Oils”

This video is worth watching even just for the info on essential oils (that starts a little more than half way through the video). I found it very informative and encouraging!

Let me know what you think and please pass this info along to anyone you think would benefit from it! Thanks!

https://go2.thetruthaboutcancer.com/global-quest/episode-2/?a_aid=560559b6b73a9

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Things I Like About Living Naturally

Ok, so there are a lot of things about this EI life that are difficult, challenging, even ridiculous. But I don’t want to forget that there are also things I appreciate about having to live naturally. Here are a few. =)

Things I like about living naturally…

– eating healthy, home cooked food (yum!)

– smelling like peppermint (from using peppermint essential oil) =)

– learning to appreciate simple pleasures in life

– not having to buy all kinds of hand soap, dish soap, body wash, facial cleanser, etc. (I just use baking soda for everything)

– having people complement me on the gray streaks in my hair because they look “sparkly” =) (seriously, it’s happened twice!)

– not having to spend time deciding which shoes to wear with each outfit (um…blue sport slides or black sport slides?)

– becoming a master at “repurposing” things

– lots of opportunities to use my creativity to find alternate solutions to problems

– being thankful for the “little” things that most people take for granted (like having a pillow for my head, water I can drink and clean laundry)

– meeting lots of great people who are also on this journey

– knowing that the patience and perseverance required for this life is building character in me =)

Ok, so I don’t always feel thankful for that last one, but deep down I know it’s a good thing. Of course we would all choose to have a perfect life if we could. But I’ve accepted that on this earth no life is perfect. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen this EI life, but I am thankful for the benefits that come with it.

How about you? What things in your imperfect life are you thankful for?

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The Ridiculousness…

I apologize that this post is a day late. I actually had it written on Wednesday, then that evening our kitchen drain got clogged and we had another disaster on our hands. I spent the last two days staying away from the house so my mom could use liquid plumber, which didn’t work and she had to take the sink apart, and it’s still not completely fixed. It’s been an ordeal. Just one more thing to add to this crazy, ridiculous month. Anyway, here’s the post I originally wrote. Thanks for your prayers for us!

This EI life is never easy. But sometimes it goes past being difficult to just plain ridiculous. The last month or so has been like that for me.

We had the worst pesticide spraying ever in our neighborhood! It contaminated our garage and laundry room and almost everything in our kitchen. My sweet mom spent days scrubbing out kitchen cupboards, soaking our dishes in vinegar, washing the walls, mopping the floor, etc. We had to throw out some organic food that got contaminated. I used the same 5 dishes (that didn’t get contaminated, praise God) for days. We’re still not quite finished putting things back to “normal” in the kitchen.

Not only that, but since the laundry room was full of the awful pesticide, I couldn’t go out there. So my mom has been doing all my laundry again. It’s taken several times of soaking and washing to get all the pesticide out of my laundry. It’s been ridiculous!

In the midst of all this, I’ve still been detoxing like crazy. Toxins are coming out so fast (especially while I’m sleeping at night) that every evening I spend an hour or more detoxifying my bedroom – washing the wall next to my bed, mopping the floor, putting on clean bedding and curtains, etc. Because of all this, I haven’t been able to get to bed til midnight or later most nights. Not a good thing for my body.

We have 5 air purifiers we rotate through the house, but my mom still coughs when she’s near me (that’s when you know you’re detoxing a LOT). I’m thankful to be getting rid of more toxins, but at the moment the process feels pretty ridiculous!

I could go on about several other problems I’m dealing with right now, but I don’t want to depress you. =) My mom said that she’d never have thought of doing laundry as a “trial.” Trials are things like losing homes or jobs, or going through cancer, etc. And while those are awful things, I think “trials” aren’t always the big catastrophes. Sometimes they’re made up of so many small difficulties that life just feels overwhelming. I admit that’s about how my mom and I feel right now. We’d sure appreciate your prayers.

Right now we’re holding on to God’s promises – that He won’t gives us more than we can bear, that He’s always with us, that He does work all things for our good somehow. He is still faithful, even when life is ridiculous.

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Some Random Health Notes

The last three weeks have been pretty awful for me. Our neighbors took turns spraying pesticides, then last week someone near us sprayed industrial strength pesticide. That one was so awful it contaminated almost everything in our garage and house. We are still in recovery and decontamination mode, and I’ve barely been able to keep up with daily needs. I’m behind on emails and blog posts. So today I thought I’d just post some random health notes that I’ve been thinking about lately.

Dangers of Pesticides

Obviously this has been on my mind. Pesticides/herbicides are designed to kill and destroy. To say that they can kill pests/plants without causing harm to humans is simply untrue! They are poisons. They do damage. They may not kill a human right away, but the toxins in these products cause all kinds of health problems, including cancer, reproductive problems, and brain impairments such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

If you aren’t already aware of the dangers, please check out these articles which give specific details about how/why pesticides are so dangerous – to people, pets and the environment.

And please keep sharing this information with others so we can work together for a healthier world.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/29/pesticide-exposure.aspx

http://www.nrdc.org/health/pesticides/

This site lists some alternatives to pesticides –
http://www.pesticide.org/

Resource for Parkinson’s

I did some research for a friend lately about Parkinson’s. Ironically, I learned that there’s a proven link between exposure to pesticides and Parkinson’s. High numbers of gardeners/landscapers who regularly used pesticides, later were diagnosed with Parkinson’s. This makes sense because many of the chemicals in pesticides directly affect brain function.

The good news is that I found a wonderful resource about recovering from Parkinson’s!
http://www.parkinsonsrecovery.com/
I was impressed with this site because it expresses many of the same concepts I’ve learned, such as:

– the body is able to heal itself when we provide the help it needs
– recovery is possible
– always look for root causes
– then use various natural means to help the body resolve those root causes

If you know someone dealing with Parkinson’s, this is a great resource. There’s a ton of information on the blog, plus there are archived radio programs and much more.

Eat the rainbow

One other note is something I heard in an interview with a nutrition expert. She mentioned this concept about diet of “eating the rainbow.” I thought it was a fun way to evaluate and pursue a healthier diet. She suggested you take three days and simply write down everything you eat. Then on the fourth day, take markers and put a corresponding colored line next to each item. So if you ate an apple, put a red line. If you ate bread, put a white or brown line. Etc.

She said most people eat a majority of white/brown/yellow foods. (Mostly starches, processed foods, grains, junk food, etc.) By putting colored lines next to each food you’ll get a visual representation of what your diet looks like. If you eat a lot of green or orange foods, you’ll notice that right away. If you’re missing blue, purple or red foods, you’ll see that too.

Since listening to her interview I’ve been inspired to eat a more rainbow-like diet. =) I went to the health food store and came back with blueberries, kiwi, apples and a tangelo.

I realize eating a healthy diet is a tough thing, with so many individual variables. But I hope maybe this idea will give you something fun to try. =)

Ok, that’s all for today. I hope your week is going well.
Blessings,
-Joanna

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Causes and Solutions

When thinking about the natural health care approach, the two main things we look for are root causes and healing solutions. With that in mind, I thought I’d re-post something I wrote in 2011. I hope it’s helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Right Perspective

As a follow-up to my last post, I  wanted to add some specific examples and details about having the right perspective on health care.

Most regular doctors routinely run thousands of dollars worth of tests on sick people. The usual result is that they still don’t know what’s wrong, or at best, they can only tell you what you don’t have (you don’t have malaria, or hepatitis, or whatever).

In those rare cases where they discover “the problem” of someone’s symptoms – such as high cholesterol, improper hormone levels, brain chemical imbalance, etc. – they still haven’t told you what the root cause is. If your hormone levels are off, you need to find what caused them to be that way. Just adding more hormones to your body may “fix” your test results, but it won’t actually heal the root problem.

And most often, once doctors find a “name” for your problem, they either prescribe a drug (or several drugs), or they recommend surgery. It usually doesn’t  occur to them that there are things you can do to actually help your body heal, once you find the  root cause of the problem.

I’ve discovered some basic things that I believe are root causes of most health problems.

1) Poor nutrition – anyone who eats a “typical” American diet for even a few years, will end up with a body starving for nutrients, and they’ll experience all kinds of health problems as a result.

2) Toxic overload – our environment is riddled with toxic chemicals like never before. They are everywhere! The body can only handle so much toxic exposure before it begins to break down in several areas.

3) Bugs – things like parasites, entrenched viral or bacterial infections, overgrowth of candida, etc.

4) And STRESS – this is also a big factor in our overall health. Though I think it’s mainly in combination with these other things that it manifests in serious problems.

So, before you face spending hundreds of dollars on more tests, having surgery or filling your body full of toxic drugs, why not explore the things you can be doing right now to help your body heal and repair itself.

1) Eat organic foods — especially organic meats (if you eat meat) since non-organic meat is actually more toxic than non-organic produce. Eat organic veggies and fruits if possible. Eliminate sugar and processed foods. You might not see a huge change overnight, but eating healthy foods will make a difference in your body, nourishing it so it can function properly.

(Here’s my post about some general diet recommendations that anyone can follow – http://supereigirl.blogspot.com/2010/05/happy-diet.html)

2) Get a lymphatic massage at least twice a month (or use self-massage techniques) — I know I’ve mentioned this many times before. There’s just no way for me to overstate how important this is in facilitating your body’s ability to detox! If you don’t do the massage, then whatever else you do to help detox will probably not work or at least not be as effective. God created the lymphatic system to drain the toxins from your body. If it’s “choked” then you will have serious repercussions.

(Here’s my post about lymphatic massage – http://supereigirl.blogspot.com/2010/03/lymphatic-massage.html
For more ideas about detoxing, here’s my post on that – http://supereigirl.blogspot.com/2010/02/detoxing-101.html )

3) Do a parasite treatment — The CDC estimates that 80% of Americans have parasites. However, most doctors never think of this, and if they do, they only test for about 10% of the possible parasites. And, most of the regular drug treatments only kill the adult parasites, not the eggs. Thus they are completely ineffective. Some herbal treatments are recommended as more safe and successful. I tried a few of them, but I never had complete success with any of them (and one of them made me much worse). So exercise caution with herbal treatments as well. A trusted natural health provider should be able to give you specific ideas for what might work for you.

Dr. Smith’s CBT method is the most effective parasite treatment I’ve found. If you’re interested, I can share how to use it. Just send me an email.

4) Start with essential supplements — Most people are magnesium deficient and mineral deficient because of poor diets, depleted soil, etc. Since the body cannot produce trace minerals, magnesium or vitamin C, these are three important things you should supplement with (since it’s almost impossible to get high enough amounts of these from food).

Also, probiotics are vital, as I mentioned in a previous post. And coconut oil is valuable in boosting the immune system and fighting bugs in the body.
(Probiotics post – http://supereigirl.blogspot.com/2011/01/support-bacteria.html
Coconut oil post – http://supereigirl.blogspot.com/2011/02/oil-change.html )

5) Find a natural health care provider — I’ve worked with 2 naturopaths, an herbalogist, Dr. Smith in Idaho and a physical therapist over the last couple of years. All of them are Christians and have helped me tremendously in understanding how to work with my body toward the goal of good health. The best way to find someone is to get a good recommendation from a friend who has been helped by their natural health care provider.

6) Take care of your mental/emotional/spiritual health — Things like stress, anxiety, anger, fear, etc. are all damaging to our bodies. Renewing our minds in God’s Word, prayer, laughter, relaxing, fun and encouragement from others are always helpful and beneficial to all areas of our health. =)

These are things anyone can do, things that will make a difference, and things that can help your body heal and be strengthened, so you can avoid the many health problems that are prevalent today.

If we want to be healthier than the average person today, then I believe we need to think differently and act differently. Let’s not be “conformed” to the world’s ideas (Rom. 12:1-2) about health and the body. Let’s continue to seek the knowledge God gives – after all He created our bodies! – and do the things He has provided so that we can live in good health and be available for all God longs to do through us!