Five EASY Tips to a Healthier You

Hey there!  We are well into September, almost into October in fact.  This time of year always makes me happy.  I love the cooler nights.  I love the leaves changing colour.  I love anything that smells of apples and cinnamon baking together.  Speaking of apples and cinnamon baking together have you seen THIS?  See, with just one quick link to a YouTube video I made your life instantly better today.  I personally can’t wait to blow my family’s minds when I make this for them this week {with one minor tweak…I’ll use coconut flour in lieu of wheat flour}.  Of course, I’ll have to trial run it a couple of times before…

Anyhow, to get to the point of my post, I want to connect in with people today who are struggling already with their health this fall.  As we get further into fall and then into winter {stay with me…I know it’s painful to accept winter is coming but stay with me….}, people tend to get sick more often.  Let’s clear something up though.  It’s not because there are an abundance of extra germs out there that suddenly decide to come out and play.  There are a number of causes to this phenomenon.  Let’s start first by stating the obvious.  I live in Canada, about an hour north of Toronto.  And it’s freakin’ cold here in winter.  It was so cold last year that we didn’t even get that much snow. With that massive shift in temperatures, I notice a few things amongst the general population of people I get to work with daily in my practice.

  • people are more sedentary and do not exercise as much in the colder months
  • people get less exposure to sunlight thus less vitamin D {for two reasons…firstly, there literally IS less daylight hours and secondly, reminding you that I live in Canada in the winter, it’s freakin’ cold so people do not venture outside nearly as much as they do in the summer}
  • people eat more crap – processed foods, comfort foods, carb laden foods – and less fresh foods

There are a few other things here and there but I would say that those are the top three reasons that individuals tend to be more likely to get sick in the colder months.  Combine that with other unhealthy habits and it’s a recipe for colds, flu, and XYZ infection.

But I am here to help YOU keep and stay healthy this year.  I am going to give you five easy tips that you can follow.  These will significantly increase your chances of staying healthier over the next six months.  Ready?

  1.  Get adjusted by a Chiropractor.  Wait, what?  Hold the phone.  What does a Chiropractor have to do with keeping me healthy.  In a nutshell: Chiropractors ensure your nervous system is working properly.  Your nervous system controls every single part of your body including your immune system.  Your immune system is what keeps you from getting sick.  rethink_chiropractic_infographic-600x464
  2. Improve your gut health.  Did you know that your gut has 10x more bacteria than your entire body has cells?  Think about that for a moment – you are more bacterial than you are cellular.  Your gut comprises over 75% of your immune system so if you don’t eat a healthy diet, you’re directly impacting how well your immune system works.  I can tell you to stop eating processed foods but you already know this.  I am definitely going to tell you to cut the wheat and other inflammatory grains out of your diet. If you really want to get some amazing actionable steps on how to improve your gut health, go to http://www.chriskresser.com and download his Gut Health ebook.  He talks about the benefits of fermented foods and he’s really REALLY smart when it comes to this stuff.
  3. Use Essential Oils.  Exceptional quality ones (email me at drandrearyan@gmail.com for info on the essential oils I choose and ONLY use for my family’s health).  There are so many different essential oils out there that can support your immunity and give you that extra boost when you need it.  I diffuse them into the rooms we frequent and I massage them topically into my skin {and my kids’ skin too!} so that we’ve got an all-natural, non-toxic and EFFECTIVE way to keep our bodies protected. essential_oils2-530x350
  4. Get active.  I can hear the excuses rumbling already….”I don’t have the time.” It can take as little as twenty minutes a day.  Everyone has twenty minutes a day.   “I don’t like exercise.” Too bad.  Suck it up.  You’re an adult and adults have to exercise.  Period.   “It’s too expensive to join a gym.”  You know what’s expensive?  Taking a day or a week off work or away from your family because you can hardly get out of bed.  But here’s the best part….you don’t need a gym!  You can get a workout in your own home.  You can walk around your neighbourhood.  I used to put a lot more emphasis on the type of activity people got.  I believe strongly that more emphasis should be put on building strength than on cardio {and I still believe that 100%}.  But here’s the thing…any activity is good activity if you’re not doing anything right now.  Just get up and get moving.
  5. Get Rest.  Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep a night.  Some people do well on 7 hours, some people do well on 9.  The point though is to make sure you get rest.  Your body heals when you sleep.  Think about it…when you’re sick, your body naturally wants to sleep more.  It innately knows that it needs to rest and so you do just that.  Why would you think when you’re healthy that you don’t need sleep?  Shut off your computer.  Turn off the TV.  Put down the book.

So, there you go.  Five easy tips that anyone can implement into their life today.  And while tips are great, they are nothing without action.  Just knowing them isn’t enough.  You actually have to implement these into your life.  🙂  Here’s to a healthier YOU this winter.

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Sharing some Essential Oil Love (online workshop details!)

Oh my love of Essential Oils has exploded (in an awesome way) in the last few weeks.  I’ve been using them more and more and I start to learn the depths to which they can help my physical health and my emotional well-being.  I’ve had fun combining different oils in my diffuser, creating home health & beauty products, and using different oils on my skin to maximize the benefits.

I’ve had the honour of talking to many people in our community through a series of workshops on essential oils.  This weekend I’m hosting my first make & take party where people can learn how to actually make some of these amazing products at home (lip balm, moisturizing spray, bath bombs, and foot scrub!).  I love connecting with people face to face and showing them the power of essential oils.

Here’s the challenge though…many of you are not in my hometown!  If you live outside of Barrie, Ontario, it’s hard to attend these classes!

So, I’m excited (and nervous, I won’t lie) to host my first Facebook class this coming Tuesday evening.  You can take this class in the comfort of your own home, IN YOUR PYJAMAS, and no one will be the wiser.  🙂  I would love for you to join me.  This class will be fun, interactive, and the second best way to discover essential oils (short of experiencing them in person).  Plus, at the end of the hour, I’ll be giving away an Essential Oils gift to a luck guest who interacts through until the end!

Date:  Tuesday March 10th

Time:  8:30PM EST

Where:  Join me on Facebook from wherever you and your cell phone, computer, or table may be.

JOIN:  CLICK HERE to join in

Looking forward to connecting with you next week!

Cheers,

andrea

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Why Being Selfish is Good

I think we’ve likely all been there.  The feeling of suddenly realizing its February 12th when if someone had told you it was only February 5th, you would have believed them.  I feel like the last week has been an absolute blur.  Or maybe it’s that each day feels like the one before lately and so I’m losing sense of what day is what.

My oldest daughter has been home for two weeks from school because of a nasty cough that at one point had escalated into fever, vomiting and ear pain.  For most of these two weeks though, it’s been alternating between a dry hacking cough and a wet congestive cough.  She has great energy.  She is eating well.  She sleeps through the night.  She’s happy.  But she spends half of her day sounding like she’s about to cough up a lung.

So we’ve been laying low.  And by laying low it means that we’ve been cooped up inside the house for basically two weeks.  When the other two are home from daycare and school, life gets a little batty.  The three altogether in the same house become like caged wild animals.   It’s been extremely cold outside so playing out in the snow hasn’t been a priority.  And even kids get tired of board games, books, movies & hide and seek.  Tension levels rise, including mine.

We need to get out.  And I am craving a little freedom.

Here’s what I’ve discovered.  Not just as a mom, but as a human being.  I need to respect and put a priority on my values and feelings.  When my life is feeling a little like it’s overloaded, I need to get back to the basics of what makes me tick.

*my morning power hour is crucial.  Even if that morning power hour is 5 minutes long.

*my workouts at the gym.  I set some pretty substantial goals for myself at the gym at the beginning of the year.  I’m a few more workouts away from being able to do my first pull up.  I’m looking forward to posting that video for you.

*quiet time.  I am an introvert at heart.  I feel much happier if I have been able to carve out just ten minutes of quiet time each day.

*chiropractic adjustments.  I’ve been checked more often in the last two weeks for numerous reasons.  I know that I adapt to stress much better when my nervous system is clear and with zero interference.

*essential oils.  There is something so beautiful about diffusing serenity, balance, onGuard and Breathe at different times throughout the day.  Add in some Elevation, Citrus Bliss, eucalyptus, Wild Orange, and Lavender and I’m pretty much covering all of my bases between supporting my immune system, adapting to stress at a better level, and making my soul happy.

Making my soul happy.  Deliciously happy.

And making my soul deliciously happy is at least a step in the right direction towards freedom.  I may not be hopping a plane to paradise anytime soon (although knowing that our temperature is dipping to -31C with the wind chill this afternoon is making me second guess our choice of a ski trip this weekend instead of sitting on a beach somewhere) but creating inner freedom is good too.

The more intention I choose to place on my happiness and state of peace, I feel like the perceived monotony of life right now is more tolerable.  I make no excuses for being selfish with my personal time.  Caleigh may have had a cough but taking her to the gym with me on Tuesday morning meant that I could still get my own health and well-being taken care of.  Waking up an extra 30 minutes early in the morning, even though I could easily use some more sleep, means that I get to breathe a little deeper and plan my day before it begins.

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Before applying the oxygen mask to the people who depend on you, attach your own oxygen mask first.  Sound advice.  And advice that I choose to follow in times where people are needing me to take care of them more than usual.  I’m choosing to also take care of myself.

Daily Use of Oils

One of the most common questions I get from people who are new to essential oils is “What do you use them for on a daily basis?”  I’ve decided to answer this question with a blog post.  Let’s get down to some basics first though before diving in.

There are three different ways to use essential oils.  The first is to diffuse them into the air.  I have a diffuser in our kitchen and one in each of our bedrooms as well as one at the office.  At night, the kids decide what they want in their diffusers.  Blake’s favourite is lavender.  Caleigh loves a blend of different citrus oils.  And Maggie would, if she could, put every single oil in the diffuser at once.  I do try to keep lavender in her diffuser because it helps her sleep…and I keep anything that helps “invigorate” her as far away as possible during the nighttime hours.

The second way to use essential oils is topically.  EOs can be put on your skin either neat (meaning just the oil)  or diluted in a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, etc.

The third way to use essential oils is internally.  I would only ever use essential oils internally if they were 100% pure, therapeutic grade.  The company I use is just that (links at the bottom).  And I know which oils are okay to use internally and which are not.  Citrus oils – lemon, wild orange, grapefruit, and more – are a great addition to water.  Other oils that can be taken internally are peppermint, lavender, the protective blend, and a few more.  Whether taken with water or in a veggie cap, it’s a great way to get the benefits of EOs directly into your body.

Which leads us to the next question…which oils do you use on a daily basis?  I updated my Instagram account last Thursday with regular posts on what oils I was using at what time.

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My morning routine includes my homemade body butter (or cream as it’s not at all buttery but delightfully creamy) has wild orange and lavender in it.  It’s scent is to die for.  I dab my laugh lines with the Immortelle (anti-aging blend) and then 20-30 seconds later follow up with the body cream.  Melaleuca on my blemishes and a small dab of Whisper on my wrists before heading downstairs.

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See the lemon?  That goes in my glass of water first thing in the morning.  If I have a scratchy or dry throat (more so in the winter!) I add a drop of peppermint.  Then as I’m making breakfast and later working at my computer, I came up with this blend of White fir and Lemon to wake me up and at the same time make me want to go snowshoeing in the forest.  I am feeling massively removed from my connection to the earth during the winter time.  I’m not outside as much as I am in the summer and so I crave the woodsy smells of White Fir, Vetiver, Arborvitae and Cedar.  I often diffuse them at night with lavender to give me a restful night’s sleep.

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Thrown into today’s mix, a friend of mine fell down some stairs and broke her ankle.  She had just ordered her first essential oils but they hadn’t arrived yet.  So, off to her house I go with veggie caps filled with 6 drops frankincense, 6 drops of oregano and 6 drops of lemongrass.  It’s called the “Morphine Bomb” that helps reduce the pain.  A broken ankle is a broken ankle but if the pain can be helped a bit with EOs, then extra bonus!

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Into the office for the afternoon, I diffused Wild Orange and Peppermint for a massive energy jolt.  It smells amazing and both are mood lifters.  Perfect to combat a grey afternoon for everyone who comes in to get adjusted.

Adjustment?  Check.

Essential oils?  Check.

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After dinner, I take a drop of this digestive blend to support digestion.  One of its major ingredients is fennel and it certainly can be picked up on in the EO blend.  It reminds me of black liquorice, which I actually do not enjoy at all.  However, the digestive blend is quite mild and doesn’t bother me.

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Nighttime routine includes more of my body butter infused with lavender and wild orange.  I use Deep Blue on sore muscles (from my earlier CrossFit workout!).  I put lavender and the respiratory blend in my diffuser and it helps us get through the night without congestion or sniffles.

So, there you go.  A basic daily use of oils.  Each day is different, which is the fun part.  The kids are always changing up what goes in the diffuser.  As things come up in life for my emotions, it’s comforting to know I have my own toolbox to go to when it comes to supporting myself through the day.  For example, Wild Orange is the Oil of Abundance and it helps to bring the mindset of joy and abundance into one’s life.  I love that each essential oil has not only a physical attachment but an emotional attachment as well.

Inspired to use essential oils for your health daily?  You can check out my Essential Oils page for more information!

My Six Step Punch to Knock Out Colds

Hi there!  I feel like I’m coming out of this hole that I’ve been living in for the last two weeks.  There’s been a lot of excitement with my nephew being born  and getting back to routine in September.  Sandwiched in-between those two events was this nagging sense of not getting things done, being disconnected from the world due to lack of internet at home, and this after-summer cold that my family has been hanging onto for a few weeks now.  It went from one person to the next and seems to be working its way out of our home (finally)!

I was sharing our story of this persistent cold/”viral thing”/”congestive annoyance” with another family in our office and they asked one of the most common questions I get in practice.  “What do you do for your family to beat infections?”

This is a topic that I’m very passionate about.  I’m a Mom (first and foremost) and I’m also a Chiropractor, who has a special interest in taking care of myself and my family as naturally and holistically as possible.  And I like to share what I have learned with others because over the years I have connected with so many amazing families, headed by mamas who are doing everything they can to support their family’s health with as little medical intervention as possible.

So, before I answer the question “What do I do for my family to beat infections?”, let me share some of my beliefs so that you understand why it is what I do.

1.  Your body (and those of your children) is intelligent.  The human body will always pick the perfect response to stress that it encounters.  For example, if your 3 year old daughter gets a virus then her body will do whatever it has to do in order to kill the virus.  It will raise its internal body temperature (read: get a fever) in order to destroy the virus as it tries to multiply.  Viruses love normal body temperature, they do not like higher than normal body temperature and will die off as a fever is produced.  Also, it will create an increase in mucous in order to rid the body of the virus.  Hence the gunk that is coughed out of lungs and the stuffy, runny noses that are draining.  Pretty smart of her body, right?

2.  Infections are a Normal and Healthy Part of Being Human  When we “get sick”, it’s not always a bad thing.  I have to look at a few things to determine whether or not this is my own fault out of conscious (or subconscious) thought and action OR if simply, this is my body (or my children’s bodies) growing a better defence system.  What do I mean?  I mean that if I’m burning the candle at both ends – not sleeping well, not exercising, not eating whole foods, not getting adjusted as often as my body needs, etc. – then I’m likely setting my body up for an infection.  It’s energy stores are depleted. I can’t possibly expect for my body to ward off a cold or flu if I haven’t been properly taking care of it.

The second part of this is that getting sick can simply be a way for my child’s immune system to expand and get stronger.  Childhood infections of any kind are a great way to test, grow, and support the immune system.  If we never got sick, then we wouldn’t have a heightened immune system to protect us against future infections.  When we take medication or give our kids medication, it doesn’t allow for their bodies to properly and completely internalize the infection, build an immune response against it, and heal from it.  As a result, when future infections hit, the body is less prepared and more likely to get knocked down even harder.  Interesting concept, yes?

This all being said, when I or my husband or my kids are sick, it sucks.  None of us enjoy being sick.  It affects the whole family too.  It impacts our ability to do what we want.  It impacts our ability to work.  It impacts our ability to play.  I respect the whole process that the body has to go through when it’s healing from a sickness, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t sideline our lives.  Prevention is key but let’s be honest, even with the most organized plan to stay well, we still get sick.  So, let me share with you what it is we do once “something” sets in.

My Six Step Punch to Knock Out Infections

1.  Get adjusted!  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Regular Chiropractic care is crucial to supporting a imageshealthy nervous system AND immune system.  The nervous system is the master control system of your body and directly affects how your immune system functions.  If there is interference to your nervous system then there will be interference in your immune system (read: your immunity is working at less than 100%).  Get adjusted.  Regularly for preventative reasons and to stay well…and then yes, when you feel like your immune system has been compromised, get checked immediately!

2.  Essential Oils  A relatively new addition to our family’s toolbox but one that I can’t believe we lived without up until the beginning of this summer.  I use DoTERRA oils and I’ve been amazed at how well they work.  Their purpose is not to “treat” your infection, but support your body through it.  That being said, I was shocked the other night when I used a couple of drops of OnGuard and immediately my sinuses cleared after hours of being congested. Find out how to order them for your own family.

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  • OnGuard – An incredible immune support oil.  It’s Wild Orange combined with clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary.  I put a couple of drops under my tongue (very spicy, like oregano oil but wow, does it work!), put a drop on each of the soles of my feet, and dilute 3-4 drops in a tablespoon of coconut oil and massage it into the areas that need support (bridge of nose if nasal congestion, chest if coughing, across throat if sore, behind ears if sore, etc.)
  • Lemon – I add 1-2 drops in each glass of water I drink.  Another great oil for immune support.
  • Helichrysum – Helps to support healing.  I take 1-2 drops (with or without a carrier oil, depending on level of sensitivity…I use a carrier oil for my kids) and place it on the soles of feet and into areas that need extra support (see above with OnGuard).
  • Breathe – great to use if congested and having trouble breathing (also great support for allergies, asthma, and other breathing challenges!)
  • Peppermint & Lavender– We often don’t get fevers but when we do, they hit hard!  Fever has its place but it makes it very difficult to sleep, especially for young ones.  I will take 2 drops of peppermint & 2 drops of lavender & mix it in 1 tsp of carrier oil.  Rub onto soles of feet, back of neck, and down their spine.  It creates a cooling sensation that isn’t meant to kill the fever, just make it more manageable to live with.

3. Drink Liquids  So great to stay hydrated!  Water, water with lemon and warm tea (or even warm water) are images-1all easy ways to get fluids in.  Bone broth works by bringing oxygen to the cells that need it.  I make homemade bone broth once a month and then freeze it in small portions (1/4 cup sizes…or use an ice cube tray to make individual portions).  Simmer different bones (oxtails, bones of fish,  chickens, cows, etc. – just make sure they are organic!) in water for days (I stick it all in a slow cooker for up to 72 hours).  Breast milk for those who are still breastfeeding is exceptional for immune system support.

4.  Tone It Down  Hardest part especially for the “go go go” types like myself.  But it’s crucial to get into a quiet place.  Stay home.  Snuggle up on the couch or in bed.  Watch a movie.  Play quietly.  Read books.  Draw.  Our lives are so busy usually that for us, we really need to focus on just being as still as possible.

5.  Avoid Sugar and Dairy  Sugar is a feast for viruses and bacteria.  Eliminate it asap (it’s not good for us anyhow!).  Dairy is a congestant.  It will create more mucous than what is necessary.  So getting rid of all dairy products is a second nutritional change that has to be made the moment we are fighting something.

6.  The 24 Hour Rule   Did you go to bed with a fever and wake up feeling great?  Well, you’re likely not out of the woods yet.  The rule in our home is 24 hours without fever before heading back out into life.  It’s too easy for infections to rear their ugly heads again.  Your body is still processing!  I know that life is there and needs your attention – but I promise you it will still be there tomorrow.  Work from home, if you can.  Putter around the house.  Go for an easy walk outside.  But lay low for an extra day to avoid delaying proper healing.

So there you go!  That’s what we do to beat infections in our home.  Hopefully this helps you discover what works best for your family.