Did you know that on average, Americans gain 8 lbs over the holidays? (Yes, I read it in two different national magazines.)
Not me. I lost 5 lbs, and 17.5 inches. Yeah, and I’m just as shocked as you. So read on.
In my last post, I mentioned that I’d be sharing with you the exercise routine that has actually worked for me. Well, here it is: T-Tapp (t-tapp.com).
I truly feel like I can recommend this program, since I am totally non-athletic, uncoordinated, and though I was within my weight range when I began T-Tapp a year ago, I was not toned or fit. Yet, it has helped me to become more toned, increased my stamina during pregnancy, and increased my coordination, in addition to other health benefits (more energy, immune enhancement, improved mood and sleep). And that 17.5 inches lost is hard to ignore.
T-Tapp (created by Teresa Tapp) is a series of movements that strengthen your core, while standing in spinal alignment. They pump the lymph fluid, which I think is the main reason that I feel so much better on the days I exercise. It’s isometric, cardio, stretching, rehabilitative to bad joints, low impact. And because the Basic Workout is only 15 minutes, I’ve been able to DO it, on average 3-4 times per week.
Before this workout, I had tried Curves, and gave it up after a year and a half when I couldn’t be consistent enough with going (6AM was my only time to go, and that’s hard to do when you have an infant). Although it was fun to go and I was certainly sweating through those workouts, it seemed to me that all the women going there never made any significant change to their fitness level (including me).
I’ve also tried a few workout videos over the years, none with much result, even with lengthy workouts. And I also felt like they were taught by fitness models, rather than health trainers. It sort of zaps your motivation when you consider that the instructor has a really different body type than yours, and probably has never been acquainted with a baby belly (or 4th baby belly!), much less with how to lose one. I don’t know that Teresa Tapp has ever had a baby, but there are tons of testimonials on her site from mothers with 6, 7, 8, 9 and more children, who have shed pounds and lost hundreds of inches of baby-weight doing T-Tapp.
Teresa also explains body types and how they affect problem spots, and determine what is realistic for you to achieve with your body. I happen to have the same body type which she has, long torso, short legs. I tell myself: if she can do this, I can too.
The Basic Workout Plus (15 min.) is tough (muscle and coordination wise), but it was designed for people with Chronic Fatigue, so it’s not going to exhaust you. This is what I started with, and I think it would be a good place for others to start. I did this during pregnancy, from the 3rd month to the 8th month. I started in again with this workout at 4 weeks postpartum, although I took it slow.
At 3 months postpartum, I began to add a few moves from the Total Workout, which I did for about 7 weeks over the holidays. This is where I really began to see inch loss. (Basic Workout is the first 15 minutes of Total Workout.) In the coming year, I hope to use a combination of Basic and Total Workouts on an every-other-day basis to become fit, and then drop back to just the Basic a few times a week for maintenance.
If this sounds like something which might work for you, check out the website. Make sure to enter your email in the 10 Day Drawing (winners drawn every 10 days). I entered several times from January-May of last year, then I did win in May. I just entered last week, and won again . . . so there’s proof that if you keep entering you will get picked sometime. The prize is a free workout video (which tend to be shorter, focused exercises) and free shipping. There is no purchase required, but they do also give you a coupon for 50% off a video of your choice (plus the free shipping), which is a great deal if you are wanting to buy a certain workout which isn’t offered in the prizes.
I am not an affiliate of this company, and do not receive any compensation for recommending their products; I’ve simply been impressed with their company and the results I’ve achieved while following this program. One workout is not going to be right for everyone; if you’ve found one that is working for you, stick with it! Consistency is what will really give results in the long term.
I am absolutely in love with these beauties. The most surprising part? They aren’t even essential oils, the flagship, changed-the-world, hello-wellness commodity Young Living is known for.
But of course I’m going to tell you all about them!
This is the very first product I was introduced to in YL. I’ve used it ever since as deodorant. Yes, underarm deodorant. Remember when I posted about it here in comparison with other “natural” deodorants?? That was several years ago and there are a lot more options in natural deodorants now, but I’ve still never found anything as effective or inexpensive.
Also, there’s still a lot of greenwashing in natural products, for example, “fragrance” as an ingredient in deodorant. Ewww…no hormone disruptors mashed into my pits/lymph nodes/breasts, thankyouverymuch!
I use a pea sized amount, spread on the tips of my fingers, and wiped in my pits. Every morning! Little goes a long way, which is why the tube lasts at least 6 months, if not longer.
Oh yeah, you can use it for toothpaste too, and it works great. But I mainly love it for deodorant because I have no odor when using it. None. I can even wear a t-shirt a second time, unless I was pouring sweat from a workout.
2. Ningxia Nitro
You’ll hear me talk about Ningxia Red in a minute, because it’s amazing in its own right. But it’s little cousin, Ningxia Nitro, is my absolute BFF. It’s like a power adapter for plugging in your brain. It’s what got me through a year of nutrition school, when I had to study nights after the kids were in bed. It is like waking up on a clear morning as a 20 year old and knowing exactly what you need to do that day. Even if you’re 40, it’s late at night, and you feel completely confused and drained and you’d just like to go to bed except you’re pretty sure you have 2 papers due by morning.
Yes, that’s how much I love it. It makes me feel good. When my brain feels good, I feel good.
What is it? It’s little tubes of cherry chocolate juice, with MethylB12, D-Ribose, Green Tea, Korean Ginseng, Yerba Mate and a bunch of other great brain foods.
I love to squeeze the tube into a glass of crushed ice and Ningxia Red, and drink with a straw, but the tubes are small and slip into a pocket or purse, so I often drink them right out of the tube if I’m out and about.
3. Ningxia Red
So I guess I should talk about this next since I already mentioned it! This has changed the way my husband views “vitamins” and helps me remember that FOOD IS FIRST when it comes to complete nutrition. Because when we drink this daily, we notice more energy, less cravings, and in general more stabile blood sugar and moods.
And it tastes yummy, so I don’t have to remind anyone to take it!!
Ningxia Red is a whole fruit juice concentrate made from a bunch of high-antioxidant fruits like blueberry, plum, cherry, aronia, and pomegranate, BUT…the real star of the show is the wolfberry. It contains wolfberries grown in the Ningxia region of China. That’s important, because that area has rich farmland from centuries of silt from the Yellow River. The plants that grow there are higher in phytonutrients than elsewhere in the world, and their population has a very high number of people living well over 100 years old. They prize the wolfberry and it is local custom to eat it daily!
So we drink our Ningxia Red daily too, and plan out all the adventures we will be taking until we are over one hundred years old!
4. Thieves Laundry Detergent
I am in love with this laundry detergent.
I know that sounds crazy.
How does laundry detergent inspire love??
Well, it works and all that…but I’m really in love with what is NOT in these suds. No fragrances. No fragrance fixatives. No masking fragrance. No fragrance masquerading as essential oils. (And of course no harsh bleaches or toxic stuff.)
When I switched to this laundry soap, it was the last product I swapped out that was exposing me to fragrance. I had been using a “natural” brand that claimed flower essences on the bottle, but those “natural” fragrances stayed in the clothes all the way through the dryer cycle. Which means they weren’t natural. So when I swapped it out…the next month, lo and behold I didn’t hemorrhage during my cycle. Or the cycle after that, or after that.
I’d been working on my hormones and my clean and green home for awhile…so could it really be that laundry detergent was SOO important for my hormone balance? So I began recommending this soap to my tribe of gals in my private mentoring group. I told them my experience and asked them to please write me if they should see any changes like mine. And then the messages began to come in. This person’s teen daughter, this middle aged woman, this mommy of littles, this woman going through menopause, literally hundreds of different stories…all finding that the “symptoms of womanhood” were all melting away since NOT BEING POISONED.
OK, I better stop because it get’s me hot under the collar when I realize what’s still being pedaled out there as natural.
Let me just say: if you are a woman, your body wasn’t designed to process synthetic fragrances that are absorbed through you skin, your largest organ. Synthetic fragrances are estrogen mimickers, and many estrogen mimickers have been found attached to breast cells, uterine cells, and fat cells. Please just opt out, and stop exposing yourself!
So you probably want to know how it works? Works great! Contains enzymes to break down stains, and I apply directly for that need. I use this soap PLUS 1 tsp Sodium Percarbonate (Amazon) as an oxygen bleach in every single load I run, and the combo is awesome. It is concentrated, so one bottle lasts my ginormous family months and months.
This might comes as a huge disappointment, so I’m just gonna burst your bubble right now: the Thieves fragrance washes completely out of the clothes. Your wet laundry will just smell wet, not fragranced, when you move it to the dryer. (This is a good thing: it means there is NO fragrance fixative!) To make your clothes smell delicious, choose your favorite YL essential oil or blend to toss on dryer balls. There, now they smell awesome!
5. Thieves Household Cleaner
This cleaner is amazing because it cleans everything well! It’s a concentrate, so I mix with water in my spray bottles, mix with baking soda and a bit of water for a soft scrub, and pour a capful into a bucket of mop water. It cleans windows and mirrors, toilets, sinks, walls, carpets, stainless steel, granite countertops, ovens and stoves, you name it. I keep spray bottles of this in the kitchen and both cars as well as the bathrooms for easy access. It’s not toxic, so I enlist even my littlest children in cleaning with me!
If you’ve been following this blog for years, you might know I used to clean with white vinegar and water. Yes, those work…OK. And they are non-toxic and cheap. But I’ve fallen in love with Thieves cleaner because it SMELLS SO GOOD, and is non-toxic, and works better, way better than vinegar. But, it’s really the yummy spicey clean smell that makes me so happy when I’m cleaning! I can assure you, vinegar does NOT make me feel that way!
I love having only one thing that cleans everything! No more overfilled cleaning cabinet!
6. Thieves Spray
This is a tiny little spray bottle with an alcohol based Thieves spray in it. I use it to spray on shopping carts, counters, clothing, or anything else that I want to disinfect quickly. This is not on the label, but I’ve even sprayed it in my throat to wipe out scratchiness.
The alcohol in this spray has been “denatured” with Cinnamon Bark oil instead of a toxic petrochemical. Denaturing is required by law to transport alcoholic products across state lines without it being designated as alcohol for consumption. In this case, YL denatured it with Cinnamon Bark oil, which only adds to the effectiveness of the product while avoiding a toxic additive. How innovative!
I love it because it smells SO good, and is so handy. It’s always in my purse!
7. Thieves Hand Sanitizer
I used to hate hand sanitizers, because they made my hands feel sticky and gross. Also, I knew they were filled with toxic yuk. Honestly, I avoided this YL product for a long time and just used the Thieves Spray (above). At some point I got a free Hand Sanitizer from YL, so I tried it…and wow! It’s not like other hand sanitizers! It is super thin, so just a drop of sanitizer works for my hands, and it doesn’t leave them sticky!
The alcohol in this product is over 60%, and it’s been denatured with Peppermint oil. So you already know it smells AMAZING, with both Thieves and Peppermint in there! I love how many comments I get when I use it…and of course I share with others who are loving the scent too!
8. Thieves Lozenges
I don’t know how they do it, but YL has made they yummiest lozenges without sugar. They contain Thieves and Peppermint oils, and are awesome breath mints while putting the power of Thieves RIGHT IN MY MOUTH! They are a oval hard “candy” individually wrapped, so they are perfect to keep in my purse and share with a friend.
I love how big they are, and how well they soothe throats and freshen breath.
9. Thieves Mouthwash
Speaking of fresh breath…this mouthwash is my favorite, because it’s so gentle on my teeth and gums, but SO powerful. Again, we are talking the power of Thieves right in my mouth…wow, that’s fresh. It also has colloidal silver in it to kill mouth bacterial. However, it does not contain alcohol like most commercial mouth washes, as using alcohol daily can be really hard on gums and tooth enamel. I know my teeth used to ache after using conventional mouthwash years ago.
I would say to consider this a concentrate. I can only use a small amount at a time, and you may want to dilute in water. If you are using with a child, PLEASE dilute it first, because if you don’t, they might spit it all over you! Haha! It’s POTENT!
I love it because these natural anti-bacs are so great for encouraging a healthy mouth biome!
10. Super C Chewable
I love this supplements because it’s made from whole food! This is NOT isolated ascorbic acid, which is NOT the whole vitamin C that is found in food. Whole C contains the cofactors of ascorbate too, including all bioflavanoids which work together as antioxidants in our bodies.
I’ve taken a lot of different Cs over the years. I now know that my high doses in the past (as recommended by a doctor) were likely doing me more harm than good, breaking down my ceruloplasmin which I desperately needed to build up so I could absorb and transport iron. A few years ago I began to study the biochemical science behind nutrition, and learned about the differences between isolated ascorbic acid and whole C. Since AVOIDING the isolate (and doing a number of other whole food nutrition measures) I’m finally now pulling out of 15 years of anemia. If you want to know more about overcoming anemia, message me!
This Super C is not a miracle supplement, and it’s not even the most important thing I’ve taken in regards to anemia, so don’t get me wrong on that. It’s just a solidly whole food vitamin C, in chewable form, that my kids and husband will chew and take. I like that!!
11. Lavender Lip Balm
This is so smooth and dreamy. It’s awesome on my lips, and I can’t believe it’s cheaper than the grocery store variety, you know the one with bees on it, that always feels rancid? This one is fresh, and oh so sweet to my lips!
12. Progessence Plus Beauty Serum
I kinda saved the best for last. This product is amazing, and I’ll try not to give you the two -hour-hormone-balancing-seminar to tell you why! Haha!
(I’m actually working on some really great projects to help you with hormones, but I’ll hold the details for now.)
This serum…is completely natural and an over the counter product which basically turns me into happy-mommy-angel-wife. Yeah…it’s what I sling on when I’m feeling end of the month-y, dragon-y, or actually anything that’s not Lady Devine. It’s USP grade progesterone, which helps my body rein in the estrogen. It’s a libido boost, a stress reliever, smells AMAZING, and I love it. Makes me feel like a woman!
I use it every day, all month long. I’m pretty consistent, with 3 drops a day, but other women use more or less, we are all different. I don’t have to rotate where it goes, it doesn’t have to be rubbed into fatty areas. I just use it on my neck because it’s an awesome perfume, but if you use it on your inner thighs, I hope you’re married, and congratulations on the new baby. (I need an emoji right there and I don’t know how to get one! Ha!)
I love love love this one! Incredible product!
13. All the Oils
OK I was only going to do a dozen, but honorable mention goes to all those oils I DIDN’T talk about. I have lots of loves in that category, but we will save it for another day! <3
I like to think of my toxic load as a bathtub: water (toxins in this analogy) are flowing in at the tap, and flowing out at the drain. If the drain is plugged, the bathtub gets fuller. If the tap is turned up very high, the bathtub may be getting fuller even if the drain is working. In terms of the toxins stored in our “toxic bathtub” the goal would be to turn down the faucet as low as possible, and to make sure the drain is wide open and draining faster than the water coming in. If this is accomplished, eventually the bathtub will empty and only the daily toxins coming in will flow right on through.
Toxins Coming In
We live in a toxic world, and it’s pretty hard to completely escape modern day toxins. Even if we could, our own metabolic processes in our bodies create toxins to be expelled daily. If we weren’t detoxing all. the. time. we would die. Like, within a day.
Nonetheless, it seems prudent to avoid the toxins of:
Heavy metals which may accumulate in tissues/bones
Off-gassing of chemicals from household products
Chemicals and metals in our water supply
Die-off toxins from internal bacteria/fungus/viruses
Stress from emotional baggage
Much of this blog has been dedicated to these topics.
Organ Systems and Cells
The toxins in our bodies are varied, and are stored in differing areas of our bodies. For example, an imbalance of bacteria in gut flora may be creating a significant toxic load in my colon, even without symptoms I connect to that organ of my body. I may have a high level of lead, stored in my bones. I may have petrochemical chemicals stored in my skin, along with parabens, pthalates (fragrance) and sunscreens (which can all act as hormone mimickers) from years of lotion and cosmetics use. I may have formaldehyde stored in my cells, fungal/yeast toxins and mercury in my brain. My fat cells may have antibiotic residues, chemical cleaners, medications, synthetic vitamins, pesticides, rancid/hydrogenated oils, and styrofoam. (Some researchers feel that cellulite may have a larger portion of these kinds of toxins, which the body has put in “cold storage” to protect itself.) Although not the kind of chemical toxins that are stored in the body, electromagnetic fields are toxic to our bodies while we are present in them, and may inhibit our detox pathways for hours after exposure. I recommend the book Zapped by Gittleman for limiting exposure to EMFs.
The organs and glands of the body may all be holding any of the toxins in the list above; often certain toxins have an affinity for specific organ systems.
There are 5 mains paths of detoxification: Colon, kidneys, liver (and thus through colon), skin, and lungs.
Where do we start?
I know, it can be overwhelming. First, congratulations that you’ve made it this far, even without much planned detoxing support! Next, make a plan.
[Remember: I’m not a licensed health care provider, and I can’t diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Nothing you read on my blog is a substitute for advice from your doctor.]
1. Turn down the faucet. Start to remove as many toxic sources as possible. No, you can’t do it all this week, but START. Food always seems to be an obvious one to most people, but don’t forget that everything that touches your skin gets absorbed, without the benefit of stomach acid and your liver as a filter. So think laundry detergent, any lotions or creams put on skin, deodorant. Your lungs absorb so much of what you breathe in; so open your windows each night to air out your house. See, you’ve already made huge progress!
I recommend the book Homes that Heal as a good resource for reducing toxins in your immediate environment.
2. Flush. Drink all your water every day. Even if you can’t buy a really good water purifier this month, get a Brita which takes out some of the bad stuff. Everyone (unless your Dr. has you restricted) should be drinking half their body weight in ounces, every day (that means, if you weigh 150lbs, you are drinking 75oz water). Herbal tea counts as water, but add 8oz water for 8oz coffee or black tea consumed. Juice, milk, etc. don’t count for anything. Don’t drink soda. Just don’t.
3. Begin to cleanse the detox pathways, colon, kidneys, liver, skin, lungs, in roughly that order. I have read a lot of detox books/methods over the years, and done several types of cleanses. I recommend the book Inner Transformations by Deardueff as one book with several suggestions on cleansing each of these pathways, and even further into non-pathway systems. The author recommends some tried and true methods like Master Cleanse, veggie juicing, Candida diet, coffee enemas, Epsom Salt baths, skin brushing, as well as specific products to try.
4. Food. Yes, this is important. Not just to get clean sources (organic, grass-fed, etc.), but to have a broad spectrum of foods in fruit, veggie, proteins, and fats categories (dairy and grains not required for cleansing, and often inhibit cleansing). My experience has been that a Paleo type diet is a great jump start for food cleansing, but I recognize that Vegan diets are good cleanses too (think veggie juicing!). However, I don’t think that long term the Vegan approach supplies enough quality proteins/amino acids for some crucial metabolic detox processes. The book It Starts With Food is a good read if you feel helpless to change your diet.
Some foods that are super cleansers are fermented foods (homemade sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, etc.), dark leafy greens, the whole cabbage/broccoli family, the artichoke family, citrus, berries, and fresh fats/oils like coconut, cod liver oil, flaxseed, and avocado. But really, the fermented ones top the list.
5. Exercise/Sweat. I don’t love to exercise, but I feel more energetic and happier when I do. I use the T-Tapp 15 minute workout because it is very lymphatic; focuses on opening up the lymph channels and pumping lymph fluid (clear fluid in our bodies that does not have a pump like the heart pumps the blood). Any “pressing” type movement such as walking, running, or trampoline moves lymph, and this is very important for daily detox. In addition, when we sweat, we release toxins through the skin; terry-towel off that sweat if you’re not showering immediately.
6. Essential Oils. In the past year I have begun to study therapeutic vs. fragrance use of essential oils, and have begun to introduce them into our family as therapies. We have seen a few mild detox reactions, but I have heard and seen more dramatic reactions from others beginning EO therapy. Many EOs do have the ability to cleanse cells of petrochemicals and even do some chelation of heavy metals. Because EOs are absorbed directly into the cells, and can be within every cell in the body (even brain cells) in about 20 minutes, they carry huge potential for detoxification. Lemon juice squeezed in water has long been a detox standby, but a drop of lemon essential oil is far more potent and powerful than the juice; best to start very slowly before ramping up to one drop per glass of water (glass only, no plastic!).
Because of their ability to penetrate every cell in the body, it is very important to have absolutely pure essential oils, from a distillery which preserves every naturally occurring (balancing) chemical constituent. At this time I only recommend Young Living brand EOs (see my Essential Oils tab above).
Essential oils can also assist with emotional detox by opening up hormone pathways, and stimulating the lymbic area of the brain which stores memories and emotions (and is the area which receives signals from scents). I believe that Jesus is the true answer to the needs of our souls/emotions, and that Scripture which reveals Him is cleansing to our minds. I have found that repeating Scriptures to myself which relate to my emotional needs, within a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, have helped me to heal past hurts, depression, and unload emotional baggage.
Detoxing is good, but too much, too fast can create some uncomfortable detox side effects: rash, itching, headache, sinus drainage, feeling hot, feeling grumpy, restlessness, loose bowel, nausea, tiredness. It’s likely that the longer a person has been pursuing a detox lifestyle (has a less-full bathtub) the less they will experience these reactions. When these symptoms do strike, here are some things I have done to ease them:
Rest/sleep (it takes a lot of internal work to detox!)
Epsom salt baths (pull toxins out through the skin so it doesn’t all have to flow through liver/colon/kidneys)
Coffee enemas (no more than once a week, and only done in a safe way with electrolytes in the enema)
Cease heavy exercise; stretch instead
Go back over the list of toxins to find ways to “turn the faucet down” more
Consider backing off the detox of the moment, then ramp it up again more slowly.
Although we should discuss diet/exercise/detox plans with our doctor anyway, there are some situations which require a doctor’s help for detox. These would include chelation for heavy metal poisoning, heavy industrial chemical poisoning, and advanced cardiovascular disease chelation. A doctor knowledgeable in environmental medicine would be worth enlisting in these cases; it’s likely that he/she will be recommending at least some of the ideas above, so the more educated a person is about home therapies for detox, the faster their progress will be.
Additionally, some people have genetically faulty metabolic processes for detoxification; MTHFR gene defect, inability to methylate B vitamins, insufficient amino acid production, anemia of many types, thyroid and other hormone insufficiency, etc. A knowledgeable integrative doctor will be able to test for these types of disorders and recommend simple solutions to underlying causes. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking the right form of a B vitamin.
Detox for Life
I’m not going to sugar coat this: if you are new to detoxing, it will likely be a year of intentional detoxing before you feel really clean, and then an ebb and flow of maintenance detoxing thereafter. But, the benefit of having more energy and joy, and feeling lighter (if not actually BEING lighter) will make it worth it. You may never know the health crises you’ve dodged by keeping your toxic bathtub empty.
I hate to exercise. At least I used to, before I was able to do it successfully.
For me, success has meant that I was able to fit it in my day, and that it actually made a difference in how I felt, how my body looked, and how I felt about myself. I think these are good goals for exercise.
Success in exercise had never happened for me in my entire life, until this past year. This is one of a few things which has helped me feel better in 2010 than I did for at least the 10 years before it. That’s saying a lot. This non-exerciser/exercise hater/excuse Pro will now choose to exercise every other day because I feel better when I do.
Just by way of review, here are some reasons it’s good to exercise:
Good for your heart/oxygenates all your tissues
Enhances the immune system/moves lymph fluid
Improves mood and digestion
Increases energy/helps you sleep better
Helps detox processes/sweat is the skin’s method of toxin removal
Of course, these benefits will only be yours if exercise becomes a habit. Part of making habits is just doing it, and part is finding the routine that is going to work for you.
All my past excuses? I’m learning to turn them on their heads by choosing to:
embrace the interruption in my day, knowing that I’ll have more energy afterward to accomplish more in less time
appreciate a good sweat which is helping me detox through my largest organ (skin) and is an indicator that I’m in fat-burning-mode (and the more days I sweat, the less stink there seems to be . . . indicating a lower toxin level?)
be happy about the accomplishment of doing a tough workout
However you exercise, the main thing is that it works for you and that you do it. So find a routine that works, and get moving!
Next post: I’ll tell you about the exercise program that I’ve been doing (read: actually been doing) this past year. I feel like I can really recommend it to others, as it has helped me lose 17.5 inches in the last 8 weeks. . . and that was over the holidays!