30 day anti-inflammatory meal plan for a healthier lifestyle. Detox your body with these incredible anti-inflammatory recipes — breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The benefits of xylitol are astounding. It helps promote healing on your skin/acne, is a natural anti-bacterial compound that healed sinus and ear infections, and tastes really GOOD. It can be used as a sugar substitute, a sinus rinse, is used in beauty products, and is used in most gum and toothpaste products to prevent cavities. But with all of its benefits, there are some things to be aware when picking out the right xylitol products, as well as how much is too much.
Here are some practical ways you can get something or someone off your mind. Negative thoughts about something or someone can do a lot more harm than you might think. Everything starts in our minds—from our physical health to our well being and happiness. So, as you might currently know, a thought you can't shake about something or someone is just as frustrating as getting sick—if not worse.
If you aren't a natural blonde and need a little help getting that beautiful creamy blonde tone with some highlights, then this article is for you. Do you know that moment about a week after you get your highlight at the salon and you start to realize that gorgeous shade of blonde you left with is slowly turning yellow?
Being pregnant for the first time can be quite trying. The first trimester you struggle with nausea, hemorrhoids, and mood swings, just to name a few. The second trimester you get a break from most of those things, except you start experiencing more physical struggles with your belly getting bigger and bigger. The third trimester, you get all of the symptoms from both the first and second, with a few added cherries on top. You know exactly what I'm talking about if you've ever been pregnant, unless you're one of those women who take on pregnancy like it's just another normal day in the life of you.
I'm going to tell you a story about a little treasure I found in an unexpected place. This article has no words of advice, but here's what I want to do with it. All of us women have embarrassing, crazy, and weird pregnancy stories. I would LOVE to hear them. So, I will tell you mine, and maybe it will give you a little laugh and encourage you to also share yours in the comments below. Here it goes.
I remember it like it was yesterday. My first pregnancy I was experiencing all kinds of things I never knew or thought could happen to my body. I don't make the most pleasant pregnant woman, and my husband can testify to that. Maybe you are one of those women as well, but you also know that even with all of the symptoms, once you hold your baby in your arms for the first time, it's all forgotten and forgiven. Every single sleepless night trying to soothe your hemorrhoids, peeing a tablespoon of pee every ten minutes, getting zits the size of grapes that never go away. It's all forgotten, and you can say with one hundred percent certainty, with all your heart, that it was all worth it.
Of all the things I experienced during my pregancy, this one was definitely the strangest.
I am a person who loves to take nice, hot, long showers. Sure, it's expensive and irresponsibly earth unfriendly, but here's the thing. I don't care. If I can have twenty minutes alone, with hot water embracing me with its liquidy arms, I will take that over any session with a psychiatrist. It keeps me sane. I can think clearly, and when all those bad thoughts come out, they seem to wash away with the water, down the drain.
To get to the point, showering while pregnant was especially important for me. Even though it did present its difficulties physically, like once I had sat down, I couldn't get up again. This is a picture resembling that problem.
Even still, it was a daily routine I treasured. This particular evening, little did I know, my shower would bring about something very strange. A diamond in the rough, if you will.
I walked out of the bathroom, to see my husband laying on the bed. I presented him with a tiny little pebble, the size of a pea, and asked him if he knew what it was all about. He gave me a look that expressed complete bewilderment.
So I said to him, "Do you know where I found this tiny little pebble after I took a shower?"
He said, "No. On the floor?"
"No." I said. "I found this little treasure inside my belly button."
"No way." He replied.
"Yeah, and it gets weirder. I think it's been in there for who knows how long. Look here, I have a tiny little indent of where it came out. Like my skin formed around it. The only reason it came out is because my belly button is turning inside out. So, at some point in my life, this little pebble found it's way into my belly button, and made its home there for years!"
He couldn't handle this one. We have never laughed so hard.
I am guessing at some point when I was a child, I got tossed and turned by the waves on some family vacation, and somehow a pebble got lodged in my belly button. My skin then grew and formed around it, unbenounced to me. After the shower softening my skin in combination with my belly button turning inside out, it couldn't stay it its little home any longer. I wish it had somehow turned into a pearl, but I'm guessing since I don't have the mad skills of a clam, that's impossible.
So, there you have it. What I found that day I put in a tiny little sample perfume bottle, and I now wear it everyday around my neck. Just kidding. That would be really weird.
I would love to hear your pregnancy stories! Please, comment away.
The Diva Cup and its benefits
Friends don't let friends use tampons
This story could quite possibly make you queasy, so if you have a weak stomach, or if you're a man, don't read any further.
This article may contain affiliate links.
One regular morning, a few days after my period I woke up to use the bathroom, but the smell I smelled, made it no longer a regular morning. The smell resembled death, at least what I think death would smell like. Rotten flesh, mixed with freshly risen dough. Was it a yeast infection?
No. What could it be, I wondered. A few days went by and every time I used the bathroom, I was greeted by this unpleasant reminder, causing me to schedule a doctors appointment. I couldn't get into my OBGYN until the next week, so I did a few things to try and figure out what it was.
To no avail, I was left dumbfounded, and started to worry. The smell only got worse. It must have been a miracle from God because I ended up talking my mother-in-law that week, and unusually mentioned what was going on.
"Maybe you forgot something up there?"
I said, shoving that idea aside until later that night.
Perhaps she had a point, so I checked. Without going into any detail, she was right. I had forgotten a little something up there, and let me just say, it isn't normal that a tampon left to rot inside of someone for a week wouldn't cause Toxic Shock Syndrom (TSS).
I have since read articles of various women who have horror stories, to say the least, of what this can actually do to you. I am fortunate I didn't lose my life, or even my legs, like this poor soul. I'm only posting this to make you aware of how careful you need to be when it comes to this.
Thankfully, God has given me a second chance, which provoked me to look further into tampons and why I should possibly convert to the Diva Cup.
A woman's menstrual cycle is no longer a hush-hush subject and rightfully so. You can read other information I have written in this article, encouraging PMS health, written for those of you who suffer from PMDD, linked with depression. There are also great book recommendations for overall PMS health in there.
Once you get over the first initial "ew" of using the Diva Cup, you get used to it. You also need to follow strict procedures in cleaning them. The time has come to get your hands a little dirty and switch on over. These are the benefits I have experienced.
Go all day long without needing to empty the Diva Cup.
I used to think that when I had my period, I must have bled an entire gas tank's worth for the duration of my cycle. Wrong! You'll actually will be surprised how little we do bleed.
Feel comfortable traveling for long periods of time.
This goes along with not having to switch these suckers out much.
Tampons are SO expensive. Diva cups last for a few years!
Possibly save your life! And your legs.
Don't lose your legs, lose your tampons! That may be a bit dramatic, but still.
There is one thing to consider as with putting in tampons. Close the door and lock it as to not make your spouse think you just murdered someone if they walk in on you washing blood down the sink. Sorry for the gory details. The closed door will also help with the suction sound creeping anyone out. Trust me, I learned this one the hard way.
Good luck with your new endeavor! It really is a better option in my opinion.
The Period Repair Manual
By the way, here is a great book about PMS Health, and how to lessen your symptoms naturally! These are great tips that have helped me both mentally and physically!
5 Natural remedies for beating the flu
If you're a person who always resorts to cold and flu medicine, then you'll want to read this. I was just like that, but now that I know that there are remedies out there to lessen your symptoms without drugging you or your children Breaking Bad style, I am a believer.
I used to think that natural remedies didn't work, and even if they did, wouldn't last long. One thing I love about Germans and Europeans, in general, is that the absolute last resort of Tamiflu or antibiotics is just that, the last resort. We moved to Germany two years ago, and my desperate attempts to try and convince these doctors that we needed drugs to live through the night, just made me look even more American than I already do. Bribing didn't work, so I just had to accept it. Not once in these past two years have we been given any sort of antibiotic or Tamiflu, no matter how bad the fever got. It forced me to join the other hippie moms in dealing with this crap.
I'm no scientist or doctor, but I know for a fact that when my husband (who was born and raised in Germany) gets sick, he maybe has the flu for two days tops. Me, two weeks.
The difference between us? I have had a lot more antibiotics and Tamiflu in my lifetime than he has. I can't tell you how many times I've taken them. I'm not gonna lie, it was great!
But I can't help but think that maybe, even if only a few times, I need to let things ride out while keeping the symptoms at a bearable level. Again, I'm no doctor, but I'm pretty sure it's good for your immune system to learn to fight sickness in order to get over it faster or fight it all together the next time.
Almost two weeks ago, for the first time, I got the flu while being pregnant. Not fun. My husband got it, and of course, he was better after two days. Obviously, being pregnant, the only thing I could take was Tylenol, for comfort from the aches and shakes, and as a fever reducer.
I have never in my life experienced what the actual flu really feels like because I've always resorted to Mucinex to dry up the sludge, or Nyquil to knock myself out. Man, let me tell you, it's awful! So if you're a hippie mom, or just pregnant and not allowed to take the good stuff, this article is for you.
1. Boost your immune system
Facebook and Pinterest are a moms best friend when it comes to these things. I haven't looked to see whether these tips are up there, so I'm not claiming them as my own secret recipes. I just know them from word of mouth or the lovely ladies who know their stuff at the German pharmacies.
Ginger and honey booster
1 tsp Ginger (antiviral, anti-inflammatory)
1 tsp honey (antibiotic qualities)
Juice of 1 lemon (reduces phlegm and has vitamin c)
1 tsp turmeric root (anti-inflammatory for your swollen glands, throat, sinuses, etc.)
Not only will this help clear up that mucus in the back of your throat, but also boost your immune system. I used to add Tumeric until I read an article that debunked any powdered version as helpful. If you happen to have turmeric root in its true form lying around (probably those hippie mommy's do) then go ahead and add that. Just make sure you research how much you're allowed to have during pregnancy.
*disclaimer - This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on an image and purchase from Amazon, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I will never recommend a product that I don't stand by and believe to be useful. Thanks for the support!
2. Thyme steam bath
2 tbsp dried thyme, or 3 bags of thyme tea
Thyme is known as an antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial herb. So no matter what sickness you have, it fights it! It is used to treat various conditions having to do with the respiratory tract.
Put in a pot of boiling water and let steep for a few minutes. Drape a towel over your head and breath in the thyme steam for about 10 minutes. That annoying cough you've had for the past week will dissipate. It also encourages you to cough up all that mucus that needs to come out. Drinking thyme tea, in addition, will dry it up even more. This is seriously the best method I've used for clearing up all that nasty mucus. It works just as good as Mucinex, but it doesn't last quite as long. I do it about three times a day.
3. Eucalyptus Bath
Not only does this feel amazing, relax and detoxify, it will clear out your sinuses.
4. Warm Foot Soak
Even if you have a fever, making your feet warm will keep your body from trying to warm them up and your fever getting even higher. Soak your feet in warm water for about 10 minutes.
5. Stay Hydrated and eat salty foods!
Eat Ramen or chicken noodle soup!
The sodium from the broth will help you retain electrolytes and keep you hydrated. It also feels great on your throat. I know it's hard to keep things down during the flu, but ramen for me is somehow manageable.
Why PMS might be a more of a struggle for you than for others
How PMS can affect your decisions
When I first got married, there were a lot of instances when my husband was at a loss as to how to handle his new emotional and hormonal wife. The first month of our marriage he told me that PMS was all in my head, but knows now, that was a big no-no and absolutely not true.
He was raised alongside three brothers, and when it came to his mother opening up about her hormonal issues, forget it. I mean, why would she? Up until the last however many years, hormones, periods, and women's emotions were hush-hush. No one talked about them, and in my opinion, a lot has been swept under the rug resulting in a lot of disarray on the matter.
One day, after having a moment of freak out during my special days, I was shocked in how my mind had turned so ugly so fast and wondered if I was capable of actually doing the things I had just thought in my mind. It made me curious as to what percentage of crimes were committed by women during their PMS. I, of course, googled it and read a few articles on the matter.
It was apparently brought up in court during the 80's on whether sentencing could be lowered if a woman committed a crime during PMS. Since doctors couldn't prove that PMS alters our decisions, the case was thrown out, even though there are studies that found there was a higher percentage of crimes committed by women during PMS. Honestly, it makes perfect sense to me and proves even more that PMS can affect us in so many ways, including our decisions.
Emotional vs physical symptoms of PMS and when it's called PMDD
Anger, irritability, depression, anxiety, cramps, headaches, and much much more.
Every woman is different, even when it comes to hormones. Some women suffer more physically during PMS and their period, while others suffer more emotionally. The severity of PMS is determined by how many symptoms you have. If you have 5 or more of these symptoms, it can be likely that you have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) .
Women who are experiencing PMS, can still function and continue to perform their daily activities, even with their discomfort. Women with PMDD, because experiencing more severe symptoms, are sometimes paralyzed in their mind and body which makes it difficult to perform everyday tasks.
While anger, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, and thoughts of suicide are a part of the emotional symptoms, there is yet another painful side to PMDD that suddenly and unwillingly rears its ugly head. Depression.
There are many different forms, but the one I am referring to is that only during and having to do with the menstrual cycle. For me, this occurs both at ovulation and a week leading up to my period. Once my menstrual cycle starts, I feel like a different person.
That makes it two weeks out of the month where I feel like myself. Not only do I suffer emotionally, but it affects my sleep (which affects my depression even more), my skin, and worst of all my decisions. I feel as though a tiny evil version of me is sitting in my head, and using her tiny controls to operate my bad decisions and make life seems hopeless.
Due to tracking timelines and keeping a symptom documentation, it's become apparent to me that what I experience is a bit more severe than PMS. In the second trimester of pregnancy, I am quite possibly the happiest person on earth. Most of my problems seemed to dissipate, including my skin, because my hormones changed for the better during this time.
My first and third trimester are a completely different story.
Most of these things are no news to a lot of you. But what don't we know? What if there are broader issues to PMS, PMDD, and depression, and do they possibly coincide? Is there a way to get help from our symptoms?
I wanted to touch on this subject because I have benefitted from being aware of some of these things by research, reading some books on the matter, and some wise advice from a few women. Since we can't control the fact that we menstruate and from that receive wonderful side effects, let's talk about what we can control.
This post contains affiliate links.
What we can't control
Probably one of the hardest years of my life was when we moved to Germany for the second time. The unfortunate menstrual changes during PMS occur because of the rapid rising and lowering of the hormones progesterone and estrogen.
If we have high levels of stress in our lives, these symptoms are made worse due to the release of more cortisol into our bodies. I have witnessed first hand that stress plays a role in making symptoms worse, as the stressful years in my life, have brought out the record-breaking crazy lady days.
We can't control our circumstances, for the most part, nor can we control our PMS or PMDD, if birth control is not an option for you. I tried it, only to find out I do, in fact, transform into Mr. Jeckel.
It made my symptoms so much worse. Some of you don't want to be on birth control, but since it helps you feel less insane, you do it. Same goes for depression medication. You need a solution, so why not?
As I am both for the use of depression medication and birth control when needed, I also don't want to accept the fact that it should be something we have to take for the rest of our lives. So what are the other options? Let's talk about the neurological side of things and how it possibly ties into PMS, PMDD, and depression. So we can't control PMS and its symptoms, neither can we control our circumstances. So what can we control?
One of the best things you can do for your period is switch to Diva Cups! Say no to tampons! Read about it here. Click the image to buy on Amazon for a great price!
What we can control
1. What we eat -The PMS diet and how it can
lessen or eliminate your symptoms
I read a book awhile back talking about natural resources that help lessen the symptoms of PMS and PMDD. It's called Period Repair Manual. One of those factors is our diet. It's important to figure out what your body needs and doesn't need. Keep a diary of what you eat and how it made you feel.
For example, our body doesn't need a twinkie, but it could need natural sugar, like fruit or yogurt. Seems reasonably straightforward, right? She goes a little deeper into it, explaining how certain foods can worsen our symptoms. A very interesting read if you want some advice on what you can do naturally to lessen or even for some women, eliminate your symptoms.
2. We can control our thoughts
There is a neurologist whose name is Dr. Caroline Leaf. She's brilliant and has written a book called Switch on your Brain. I don't agree with everything she says, but she touches on some excellent points.
Our mind/brain and our body are connected; therefore, our thoughts are the starting point of what happens to our body's emotions, ailments, physical well being, which in turn affects our lives. Our thoughts have the power to physically change the makeup of our brains for the better or the worse.
I'm going to quote a good old fashioned verse from the Bible. If you're not a Bible-believing person, that's okay it doesn't matter because this can still apply to you. Philippians 4:8 says,
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
This is advice from thousands of years ago, and I can only gather that God is trying to protect us in not wanting us to let our thoughts run wild on negativity because science now says it is neither good for us emotionally nor physically. Positive thinking, right? It can heal our brains, physically change them, and heal our bodies. Read the book. It's fascinating.
So, what does this have to do with PMS, PMDD, and depression?
A sage woman once asked me in reply to me sharing how during PMS, I have a hard time controlling anger towards my husband when we fight. She asked, "Are you able to control your anger towards your son or your friends?" I replied, "yes, of course, most times." she responded. "So there is hope. If you can control your anger towards your child and friends, then if you put your mind to it and practice, then you can also control your anger towards your husband."
That was convicting. It occurred to me that I can, in fact, control my emotions, even during PMS. How? By controlling my thoughts. It is SO hard to do during PMS, and I realize for those of you who suffer from PMDD, it seems impossible at the moment. But with practice (mostly during the good weeks,) as you will read in Dr. Leaf's book, we can physically change our brains and begin to heal from the inside out. Cool, huh? Oh and she backs it up with science, so don't worry. I don't think that this is always possible for everyone and every neurological issue. She seems to think differently on that matter. That's okay! We don't all have to agree on everything!!!
Learn more about - How do we begin to control our thoughts?
There is almost always a still small voice in my head when I think of something I shouldn't be thinking that says, "If you go down this thought journey, you will end up going down the rabbit trail into a big ugly mess of insecurity, doubt, depression, and anger. If you choose not to believe that lie, you can go on with your day NOT fighting with your husband." I believe we are continually being fed awful lies, and we always have a choice to believe them or not. Anything that causes you to curl up in fear is most likely a lie, and if you feed that lie, it will fester until your brain and emotions are a rotten mess.
It takes practice, but try it. When that lie comes up, have an escape plan. Think of something positive to replace it with that correlates to that thought that might be pestering you.
'I am fat and ugly' - replace it with something that you know is true about yourself. 'Okay, that's how I feel, but what is true? I am beautiful because...'
'She is prettier than me' - replace it with the truth. 'Wow, she is really pretty. I'm grateful that God creates everyone with some unique form of beauty. Thanks, God, for also creating me beautiful.'
I have my "escape from bad thoughts" plan all written out and taped up in my bathroom (the place I usually go when I'm upset.) It reminds me (when I choose to acknowledge it,) to take action for how I am behaving right now and own up to my side of things.
I used to live in unforgiveness, bitterness, and thinking that I am a worthless piece of nothing, and why should I even bother with the world. It was a dark place, and worse yet, intensified when I was hormonal.
It brought dissension in my marriage, destruction in my heart and mind, and I physically felt like I couldn't get out of bed. I had headaches, backaches, anxiety, loss of appetite, thought of suicide and more. All because I started believing those little lies that turn into BIG LIES.
I believe, but as I said, it's my own opinion, that there were always deeper issues at hand, and during my PMS, those things would intensify and leave me paralyzed with fear. So, what else can we control?
We all have a past that includes good and bad experiences and memories. If you have undealt with baggage, then figure out a way to heal through it. Whether that's forgiving someone, even if they don't deserve it, or having someone to help you work through your wounds. Forgiveness is vital in letting the past go. I know this first hand, and it is one of my hardest struggles and something that has held me back for many years.
Some of us have deep wounds that go beyond what is even in our conscious minds. It could be subconsciously affecting you, although you thought you had gotten over it. Make sure you have made peace with your past and leave the past in the past. It won't help you to dig up those graves to justify your thought patterns. You can read more about healing from your past here.
4. Take responsibility for your actions and who you want to be.
I don't know who you are or how you got to this post, but I do know you're reading it for a reason. I am grateful if in some way it can help you in your journey to learn how to deal with PMS, PMDD, depression, and the issues that go more in-depth.
I believe, when we PMS, the deeper dwelling issues of our heart's come out, and rear their ugly heads in ways we don't like or even want. That's why in dealing with our symptoms, we need to dig deeper and figure out who we are, and why we are the way we are.
For everyone, this looks different. For me, it has helped me immensely to take responsibility for my actions and work on the things I need to change instead of wanting everyone and everything else to change. To take my thoughts captive and not let them run wild on emotion. Just like the serenity prayer. "God, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can."
You have the power to change your own life for the better. It has first to be a choice, and then an action, starting with the opportunity to not believe lies, and to replace those evil thoughts with the good ones.
Try it, and see if you can start changing those hopeless days into days full of joy and peace. It's a long journey which I am still working on, and I can't say it always works. But at least I know I am trying something, rather than doing nothing. Feel free to share your thought below on what you experience with PMS, PMDD, or depression.
We are in this together, and your story could be an encouragement for someone else.
How to grow your lashes and fill in your brows
Don’t get eyelash extensions - you won’t need the with this one product
Bad habits. We all have them. Where do they go when you get married? After they torture you your entire life, they double up and you get to deal with your partners as well. Within the realm of bad habits, there are several categories.
Addictive habits, nervous habits, involuntary habits, voluntary habits and hereditary habits. I think that covers all of them, the bad habits anyway. Of course, there are good habits, but I don't want to bore you with those.
The habit I am going to talk about is an involuntary, nervous habit of mine. Two in one. And the nervous part of it is the worst. I'm a picker. Not a nose picker, but an eyebrow hair picker and stress only fuels this fire.
Yes, if you look very closely at my eyebrows on a very bad month you will see that I have none but a few hairs left. But thank goodness for brow liner! Christoph has tried to help with this.
Slapping my hand when he sees me reach for them. Yelling at me from across the way, "Don't do it, you will only regret it" I respond, "But I have too! It's my only crutch!"
Then I, of course, stop and continue on to pull his eyebrow hairs out. I have asked him to be my accountability in this by allowing me to take out my stress on his eyebrows.
I know, it's weird. I have tried everything to stop myself. Last month, I was almost down to the bone because of all the stress and anxiety. Every time I am distracted and stressed, I go for the eyebrows because obviously, they are the ones to blame. Luckily, if you are like me and have this very bad habit, then there is hope.
*disclaimer - This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on an image and purchase from Amazon, I will receive a commission with no extra cost to you. I will never recommend a product that I don't stand by and believe to be useful. Thanks for the support!
A product I swear by
It's what I've been using for the past 4 years or so, and it really works, while being affordable. I was so excited when I found it on Amazon because being an affiliate for them, I can sell something I really believe in.
I use the mascara just for my eyelashes, which has the serum in it, and the serum for my eyebrows. They say you should use them both for the lashes, but the mascara alone really did the trick!
I know that eyelash and brow serum is nothing new to most of you but just try this one. It's great. Not to mention, the mascara is amazing in and of itself and somehow makes your lashes look incredible right from the get-go. Now all they need to do is come up with is a hair growth serum for your head! Wouldn't that be amazing?
It takes about 6-weeks to start working, but don't worry, it will happen. Keep at it. Now that I have shared an embarrassing, and informative bad habit about myself maybe you feel comfortable sharing one of yours. I would love to hear them. Go on, comment away.
I know, I have pink hair, but this is a good picture to show you the evidence of how great my lashes looked, and that was just at the beginning!