My Herbs Blog
When I think of all the hundreds of things I can do for self-care and to rejuvenate my body, massage is in my top 10 list of necessities for feeling good. This seems like a no brainer. Massage is great. There are just certain knots that tie up in the muscles, that no stretching seems to break up. I have been getting a deep tissue massage consistently for a year. Previously I would go a few times a year, but last year I made the choice to allocate funds towards a regular monthly, sometimes bi-monthly massage.
Sometimes I may mention to someone that I am getting a massage, and they say "Oh I wish I could do that." I am thinking, you could most definitely do that. There really is no reason. When I did not have the "money" to pay for massages, I use to go get a 10 minute chair massage, for less than $15. Then as time went on and I saw the difference in how I felt, I would pay for longer ones.
Now- it is undoubtedly part of my budget and health routine. There are months when I have had to cancel appointments or reschedule and I really felt it, in fact I may really feel like I am hurting until I get to go. Most of us spend a lot of time on electronics, or looking at our phones, and this does a number to our backs and neck. Stress also really settles in that area. It is a strange phenomenon, and in part I wish I could get rid of that tightness on my own. I have tried hot baths, stretching, and even have a home massager. All of these things help, but nothing works as good as a professional massage to break up the tightness that settles in the muscles.
The following are the reasons I feel that massage is absolutely necessary for me and perhaps you.... 1. I notice that when I start to have tightness in my neck, it travels up the muscles to my head and I will find myself with headaches. 2. My sleep is affected, if my neck is tight; I can't get comfortable and wake up sore. 3. I find myself irritable and tired when I know I need a massage. 4. Getting one releases a lot of pressure and helps the body relax. When in a relaxed state the nervous system is more effective at delivering nutrients to the body. 5. I can get back to work. I find that if I am starting to get too tight, my neck and arms and lower back are pained when I sit at the computer. After a massage, I feel right as rain and ready to tackle my work again.
or Rosemary Gladstar (through her course The Science and Art of Herbalism) really taught me the need for nourishing the body and nervous system. I know a lot of herbs that are beneficial to the nerves. They are called Nervines. Some of my favorites are Catnip, Lobelia, Valerian, Lavender, and Chamomile. What I find with herbs is that herbs work so much better in conjunction with other modalities. An example of a mini self-care splurge that I do is, once or twice a month I will go get a massage, concentrating on my upper back and neck. I like to do this towards the evening, so that I can come home and have a few cups of tea with the above listed herbs. It is really important to drink fluids right after a massage, and the next few days. It is always important, but especially important after body work. Then I do something to continue relaxing. I play nice music, watch an uplifting movie, or go to bed early. The next day I feel like a million bucks! I love my massages and will keep them a part of my routine.
What to avoid: Sporadic massage can feel counter productive. If you only get a massage once in a great while, you may actually feel overly sore afterwards, because the muscles haven't been worked. When I was only going infrequently, I often woke up really sore the next morning. Find someone who you really like. If you get a massage and you find that it was only ok, find someone else. You should really notice a difference immediately when you are on the massage table, as far as relaxation goes. Start with what you can afford, and at the spa or center you can afford. I think a lot of people talk themselves out of going for one because of expense. There are many self employed therapists who charge very fair rates, and are excellent at what they do.
Be willing to try different types of massage. This is something I need to incorporate more. Each type of massage has aspects that benefit the body in different ways. There are essential oil massages, foot massages (reflexology), hot stone, deep tissue, or lighter touch massage. I have experimented some, but need to try some other modalities, because I know there are areas I am missing, and pieces I will receive through trial. Be open to the fact that you may have more clarity, or some kind of spiritual experience, or even sadness afterwards. We can hold pain and sorrow in our bodies, and the trigger points, when pressed by a trained therapist, can release emotional stagnation.
I'd love to hear from you on your experiences with body work, and healing through the different massage techniques available. Have a happy and healthy day!
I have to agree with some of my favorite herbalists, Dr. John R. Christopher, Rosemary Gladstar and Victoria Zak as they all teach that one of the best ways to find healing from herbs is through an herbal tea.
Hippocrates said "Thy food shall be thy medicine." In Hippocrates time herbs were the only medicine. Throughout the ages, people in every culture have taken herbs for healing. (1)p.7
"Teas are herbal drinks, and because of that, they can do much more than quench your thirst or calm you after a long day. Teas are the ideal way to get the healing power of herbs into your everyday diet."
There are immunity-building teas to strengthen your own body's natural defenses, or to rebuild your strength after antibiotics, illness or surgery. There are stress reducers, nervous system soothers and antianxiety teas. You'll find natural antacids for indigestion, natural antihistamines to fight hay fever and allergies, and natural antidepressants. (1) p.7 There are even teas to enhance your vital energy, stimulate an all-over glow and bring love and joy to the hear and soul.
Herbal tea can be drunk, hot, cold, warm (although I do not prefer warm, but hot or cold). They can be brewed on the stove, simmered, steeped, set in the sun or even set out into the moon light. There is no one way to make an herbal tea and each method elicits a different constituent base, and energy for healing. Herbal teas that are steeped one time and light in color can be very pleasing, light and refreshing with honey. Teas that are simmered and steep for 12 hours are potent medicines.
The most amazing aspect of herbal teas is that so many can be made from the plants, flowers and herbs you grow in your garden. This can literally be your pharmacy. It is perfect, brilliant design by a loving Creator. If you want to get into the world of herbs and plants, you need to learn the art of making a wonderful cup or numerous cups of tea at once. I want to help you by sharing the tools I suggest and love to make my teas.
Let's get started:
1st- you need a tea kettle. Well actually you could go without a tea kettle and use a pot with a lid. I have both, and I probably use my small pot, with a lid more than my tea kettle that whistles. The tea kettle that whistles is great because you can hear when the water is ready. The pot with a lid, sort of has to be watched. I like this method because I often put my herbs in as the water gets hot, and then I cover with the lid, and just before a boil, I remove from the stove. This makes a stronger tea and is immediately ready to drink.
I use the tea kettle more if I am going to pour a cup of tea and use a teabag, which I do not do that often. If you follow me on YouTube or even read my posts, I often talk about how teabags are inferior quality teas. (For the most part). There are some yummy tasting teas, and I do like Traditional Medicinals, but for Healing- I do not use teas in boxes, bought at the grocery store.
1 Zak, Victoria. 20,000 Secrets of Tea: The most Effective Ways to Benefit from Nature's Healing Herbs. Dell Publishing, 1999.
Let me make sure you understand what I have described so far. Your tea kettle and/ or pot with a lid are for the stove. They are used to heat up your water to make your herbal tea. The tool I want to describe next is pictured above, and there are MANY different beautiful types you can choose from. This is your teapot. The teapot is a decorative way to steep you herbal blends and serve at a pretty luncheon, or tea time with cups and saucers. The above teapot is beautiful in that you can see the tea and herbs through the clear glass. Many other types are pottery and do not show the tea steeping, but are just as functional.
The teapot is not meant to go on the stove at all. What I do is put my herbs in the bottom of my teapot. I boil my water on the stove in my tea kettle, and then pour the boiling water over my herbs and put the lid on my teapot. After steeping for 10 minutes you can serve to your friends and guests. However you will need the next tool if you plan on steeping your herbs in you teapot, because without it the herbs will be poured out into the tea cups and that is not desirable.
To master the art of making herbal teas, from loose leaf herbs, you most definitely need a strainer. In fact you will probably want a number of different types of strainers and different sizes. In the above picture, this strainer is perfect for setting right on top of your cup. Then you pour the tea from the teapot into the cup and the strainer catches all of the herbs. There are other hand held strainers that can be used, and I have many sizes. Large ones are used if you are making a large amount of tea, and want to pour into a gallon jug for storage in the refrigerator.
This brings me to the next item- which maybe should have been the first. The type of tea I am talking about is HERBAL loose leaf tea. This means you are making tea with the actual plants that have been dried. They are Red Raspberry leaves, Lavender petals, Calendula flowers, Nettle leaves, and Red Clover Blossoms to name a few. I am excited to say that soon I will be putting some of my own tea blends up on my website in a new store that is being created right now. You will be able to purchase the loose leaf blends from me. Or, you can go down to my footer on each of my pages and click on the Mountain Rose Herbs banner. This company has high quality, delicious herbs that you can buy to mix your own blends. They also have tea paraphernalia that I am describing in this post.
Next you will need a variety of tea cups, and saucer and mugs. I recommend using porcelain tea cups and true ceramic mugs for you tea. They are fun to collect, and even more fun to make if you can find a place for pottery classes. I find that just like fine wine tastes better in the proper glass, herbal tea tastes better in a mug or cup made from high quality materials. I think my favorite are the hand thrown larger mugs, that hold 2 cups worth of tea, because I drink a lot during the day. Pretty little teacups are fun for a little luncheon with treats and snacks. It just depends on my mood.
I am not going to get into the WAYS and skill for making tea in this post. This has just been about the tools. But if you want to see how to make herbal tea with dried or fresh herbs, head over to my YouTube Channel: Sheep Hill Herbs. I have 2 videos on that topic. How to Make a Really Good Cup of Tea with Dried Herbs 🌿 Herbal Infusions, Tisane - YouTube
I have been doing a series of videos and blog posts (100 tips!) on all the little things that I learned from being an Herbalist the past 2 decades. Not only have I studied herbal medicine but endless books on healing. I know that healing comes from a Spiritual, Emotional and Physical wholeness. The world we live in tends to focus so much on the physical. In fact this should be another topic, because it sickens, saddens, and upsets me to no end to see women changing their bodies with plastic surgery. It is a beautiful thing to learn to love yourself, and to teach your young girls to love themselves. It is truly a crime to be a mother emulating dissatisfaction in front of her daughters and "teaching" without words that to be pretty or good or loved you need to inject your face, body, and cut and paste, and stuff and trim to be a beautiful woman.
How does this tie into Emotions?
I've lived both ways. I have stuffed my emotions under a mound of food, addiction, and distraction and I also have lived where I spewed my emotions out on to people in what would be described as an offensive, and inappropriate way. I have learned from myself, and clients I have worked with that if you were going to choose the lesser of two evils, spewing your emotions is better (at least for you)..... than stuffing them down inside.
I can't think of anything worse for your mental and physical well-being than to bury your feelings under addictive behaviors. As I am not a therapist, but an Herbalist, I will describe to you what I suggest and have done with myself and clients to help uncover and deal with emotions.
Many times I hear that you should have a "safe" person or close friend to share your feelings with, your deepest darkest thoughts and also your frustrations. "Get it out with someone." I think that if you are going to do this, a therapist is the best person for this. I think sharing how you feel with friends is a great way to build connection and empathize with one another, but to put that much pressure on a friendship is not healthy. Plus, you can become really dependent on that person to "lift you up" every time you fall down.
I have found the best tool for me- and this is me, is to write down how I feel about something in particular. Sometimes I write out some pretty nasty feelings. I then take what I wrote and burn it, or throw it, tear it up into little pieces and get rid of it. I do not want to stay or dwell on those thoughts. I want to open up and let them out, but then look for solutions, or the next healing step.
Sitting there with the anger, frustration, or repeating it to another or yourself, over and over again, will only reinforce it into your mind. I found it is best to write it out- then invite God to help find an answer. Sometimes I will see my part in the situation. Sometimes I am led to a book, or teaching that helps me. Sometimes I wind up making a list of things to be grateful for, and then I no longer hold on to the anger. At other times I am prompted to really evaluate and make some hard boundary decisions about what is upsetting me.
I am not saying to isolate yourself and never share with others. It is important to share. I just don't like to over share with one friend. It is too burdensome. Perhaps you have a friend who has gone through something similar and they would be perfect to talk to about your situation. Sometimes groups have been a great way for me to gather strength and release some negative feeling.
However- I feel that I grow THE MOST when I work things out one on one with God. If I can share, open my heart and wait for Him to answer, the answers come. I have to be honest this takes practice and when I first started doing this, my reception was off a lot of times. Again having a close friend to bounce things off of is good, but I am trying to say do not turn it into a complaint session because that can become the only thing you do. We are looking to reach solutions.
These are the things you can start to do to un-stuff your emotions.
1. Get a journal. I recommend a lined journal for writing out long-hand, and also an art journal with blank pages so you can draw, and apply stickers, or pictures.
2. Spend quiet time alone every single day with your thoughts and prayers. Try to find your center on a daily basis. This may be very difficult at first if you do not even know your center.
In fact many people that grow up in dysfunctional homes are so enmeshed with the people from that home of origin that they are not even remotely aware of who they are. They have taken on the toxic emotions of the parents and the children often are so entwined that their own unique personalities have never developed. If you are at this place, you will really need a good anchor of support and multiple anchors to peel back the layers. I would really recommend reputable counselors or therapists to help you on this journey, or a trusted pastor.
When I began my journey I needed a lot of help, but sometimes the help was only for a short season. Maybe only a visit would be enough to help me see some truth.
3. I think the BEST thing you can do to figure out who you are and release some emotion, is to make a long list of all the things you LOVE to do. This is so fun, but it may be difficult if you have repressed your emotions for a long time. I want to encourage you to write down 20 or more items. Also, these are simple pleasures in life.
For example... "A walk on the beach," "A hike in the woods," "A hot bath," you get the idea.
4. The fourth and last thing I am going to suggest here is to start doing these things that you made on your list number 3. I should have given a premise. You can only have 2 digital/ electronic activities on the list. (Like listening to music, or watching a good movie). The list is meant to get you to enjoy the natural and simple beauties of life. That is where we all preside.
I hope this post is touching someone who needs healing. A lot of my posts on this page have to do with healing and not so much about herbs. I have found that these other aspects are so important and the herbals are of course a key aspect, but I can not ignore the emotional and spiritual aspects of mine and your souls. If you want to see more on herbs- go over to my YouTube Channel, Sheep Hill Herbs.
My dad passed in March this year, after fighting Cancer for 9 years. He was a fighter. He fought his entire life. He never quit. In fact in his bedroom he had a picture of a stork trying to eat a frog and the frog was choking the stork. The picture said "Never Give Up!" That was my dad.
When he passed I was so shocked, because he wasn't ready to go. His mind was still sharp, and he most definitely wanted to live. I was not ready for him to go either. I am still deeply saddened and shocked at the loss. He was too strong to pass on. My dad was strength. He was a rock of a person. Many people depended on him, and looked up to him; and turned to him for advice.
I honestly am still angry at times, that he is gone, and that he had to leave this world, at the young age of 72. That sounds so terribly young, as it is 32 years away from my age. I am angry that my children do not have a grandfather that they loved. I am angry that the entire dynamic between my family is no longer the same, at all. My relationship with my mother is totally different, and their home is different. Everything is different.
Change is suppose to be good- right? I do like to change, and grow, but not so much when it is forced upon me. Mourning the loss of my dad has been the most difficult, non-choice change of my life. I want to cry, scream, and even at moments I feel conflicted with happiness.
Everything I am feels like it came through lessons from my dad. He was a teacher, and he was always teaching. Consequently I am passionate about teaching, learning, and growing. Oh the lessons I wish I could teach my younger self. Many of him most important lessons came in his years with Cancer. Life was so precious to him. Everyday he tried to put on joy, even though he must have been in a lot of pain and suffering. As a recovering alcoholic he did not want pain medication or anything to numb his feelings. He felt everything through radiation, chemo, and the endless Cancer medications.
Yet I didn't know the extent of his suffering. Was that a blessing? Was he protecting all of us to his own hurt?
There is a swing, a swing that has been happening for decades back to the natural, back to herbal medicines. Plants are unavoidable, and grow everywhere, despite mans best efforts to control them. They defy weed eaters, and even atomic bombs. They are diligent, virulent, and extremely durable. When we are all gone, they would cover our magnificent structures and buildings in no time. Just look at your property. In one season, without care of the lawn, wood surfaces, decks, cement, driveways, and just about every surface, including the house and the roof, plants would take over. A jungle would quickly cover the earth. A thick jungle of plants.
At one time- plant medicines were the only medicines available. Ok- there are some brews that are made with toads, and other animals. I am not for that at all. Plants have been with us from the beginning. Where do I see this going? I see a movement for people returning to nature. I do not want to see more mega companies sprouting up selling supplements globally or through Network Marketing. THIS IS NOT SUSTAINABLE. Truly it puts us back in the place of dependence on the producer, and not in a place of independence.
What I am suggesting is not going to be desirable for the person who wants to make millions and billions of dollars. I honestly think it is a shame to use plants this way. To mass market them, harvesting them like we have with animals is ridiculously wasteful. I have always appreciated how the Native peoples of this land used everything and wasted not. I love small companies making small batches of herbals from nature, and their gardens, and small farms. If more people did this- we would see a big shift.
I also want to TEACH people how to take care of themselves this way, or at least a few individuals in every small community. We live on less than 2 acres, with access to a few more acres, and the breadth and wealth and abundance of plants on that small acreage amazes me continually. To me, there is no better form of care than taking what the earth provides at your doorstep. I guess I am talking to country people. If you are in the city, that is harder, but the creative ways people build city gardens, and community gardens can be an answer for many.
It saddens me deeply to see the world turned upside down by the scare of a virus. Man has been working with natural remedies and viruses for thousands of years. Now if we are talking the Big C, or some other disease- this is much harder to take care of naturally and requires many lifestyle changes. For the world to grind to a halt over an acute health issue is only because of lack of knowledge. The bible says "My people are destroyed because of lack of knowledge." Hosea 4:6
So while people have been swept away with the world, and the senses, we have forgotten who we are, where we come from and the power we all hold as divine souls. We are created in God's image. We are more than worthy. He has given us all the things He gave Jesus, and more. The power from on High. The world would have us forget. The world would have us be slaves to men.
Where do I see Herbal trends going? I see people who know how to read the land, and understand Spirit will not be swept away in this madness. Take what you are learning and apply it. Come to your true self. Learn who you are. Turn off the noise. Get still. Be quiet. Listen to the still small voice. Start growing plants. Learn about the plants you have in your area.
I believe exercise and movement is very important. Let me start again. If you have been following along, or not following along, I am doing a series of 100 blog posts, and 100 videos on the "Secret Tips" I've learned from being an Herbalist. These tips are observational, through revelation, study and personal experience. I hope that what I have to share will help you on your own health journey.
I love this picture. This is perfect, and exactly the type of exercise I want to do. I love to hike. I love to walk in beautiful scenic areas. I also love to break out into a run sometimes, and do some cartwheels. I was a career athlete, until my career ended after my freshmen year of college. My dad is a Pennsylvania Hall of Fame wrestling coach for our county. Sports were his life, and they became my life. I was on the track for a Gymnastics scholarship, but after a series of injuries, I abandoned that sport. Then I quickly got on track for soccer career in college, playing on 3 different soccer teams during high school.
After my freshmen year I was entirely burned out, and my body was exhausted. Now- I did not know how to take care of my body. All during my sports years I had decent nutrition, but not optimal for the excessive hours of practice that I was committed too. Injury and pain were my constant companion, which I covered up with pain medication- some prescription, others just from the pharmacy, but truly just as equally damaging to liver health.
In my 20's I learned Yoga. I fell in love with this practice and the peace and calm I felt after each session. I also fell in love with walking, and hiking, and doing sports for fun. I had done the 6:00 a.m. workouts, and the midday workout followed by evening practices, for years. I had run miles and miles and miles, and pushed my body until it felt like it would break. I iced, and taped, and spread on Tiger balm before every game, every practice, and had leg cramps often in the evening when I tried to sleep.
I have to say the thought of "exercise" became an anathema to me. I wanted to be outside and move my body, but have fun! I had always loved to swim, and every summer I swim, as much as possible. I love walking for miles on a sunny day breathing in the air, and identifying plants, and feeling the sun. I love to run with my kids, and carry garden pots, and dig in the earth. Is this not all exercise? Maybe it isn't to some people- but after experiencing extreme exercise, it is just what I need.
I never sit all day long. I have never done this. Ok- only if very ill, which does not occur very often. I am not a sitter. I move. I move all day. Movement is good. Movement is what we should aim for. Find 5 different movements that you love and rotate them. Do not make exercise a bore, or a stress, or a "have to" thing. I think most often people are over compensating for excessive eating. Try to find balance in a healthy lifestyle, and good food choices.
The main reason I do not advocate extreme exercise, especially if you are recovering from something, or have any chronic issue, is that it really stresses the body. I am not talking about NO exercise- but extreme. I define extreme as exercising for hours a day until you are exhausted, drained, and need to sleep the rest of the day to recover. I think it is normal to feel a little more in need of sleep after a very active day, but your exercise should not be hurting you.
I think the best way I can think about what exercise looks like, is by watching my kids play. They run, jump, laugh, roll, climb, dig, and just plain old move. I notice how my three year old is getting stronger and stronger as she works and plays in her environment, trying more, carrying more, doing more.
Let me recap by suggesting you find outdoor movements and some indoor that you love to do. Do it for joy. Do it to feel good, and stop when your body tells you to stop. This is healthy, and loving. God bless.
HI again. I am continuing with my series of blog posts, and videos on the secret 100 tips I have learned being an Herbalist...(20 years and counting). This is number 6:100.
I love discount grocery stores. I would not have been able to get where I am today, without them. I just could not afford Organic food from the regular stores, in the beginning. I have found, hands down, that when someone comes to me with a health issue, there is almost always some money issues as well. The person will often feel helpless and hopeless because they want to go the natural route but the cost of buying herbs, supplements, and groceries is debilitating.
I get it! I understand. Thankfully we live in an area in PA where there are many Mennonite run grocery stores, offering discounted prices, because the groceries were not "perfect" for the regular store. Meaning: The boxes, or cans, or packaging may have had an imperfection, dent etc. Sometimes the stores have too much, and they get shipped to the discount places. I do have to admit, there is a definite ART to shopping discount. I am very careful in what I buy, and do a quick energy test before purchasing my produce. Luckily though my main store gets a lot of produce from local farms, so it is not "old" but cheaper because its local.
Sometimes the food is also bulk, so that is what it is cheaper, and where I shop, there is a large freezer section with delectable Organic food that I would never buy in my regular store, for a very much reduced price. For instance, I just purchased this amazing Ancestral Blend Beef and Bison- from grazing animals for a fraction (less than $4.00 a lb.) at my store. There is also usually an abundance of frozen fruit, and frozen meals that are usually found at the health food stores only.
I can also find discounted supplements, paper products, shampoos, and other fun items that are the brands I love and much cheaper. In total I have 4 stores within 30 minutes from where I live that I can choose from for discount prices. I usually stick to the one, because it is closer, and a long time ago I made a promise to myself to spend less time shopping.
The other benefit is that you "never know what you will find." This can be annoying if you want certain ingredients. Of course there are many staples that are always there, but the fun aspect is that you can find surprises from week to week. The other week my store had the BIG, GIANT Kombucha bottles for .99 cents. This was probably my favorite recent score. Still great! Still bubbly.
My recommendation to you. Ask around. If you do not know where your discount stores are. Find them. We live in the country now, but when I lived in the city, there were a number of ethic based food stores, with great ingredients from other countries, and very awesome prices. When you find you store or stores. Try them a few times until you get a good feel for one in particular. I find it saves a lot of time to frequent a particular store because you know the lay of the land.
Then pray for your store. Pray they get amazing ingredients, products and Organics that you can buy to feed yourself and your family. We now have a much greater income than when I first started my health journey, but I rather like getting deals, and still continue to buy a lot of my items on discount. Let me reiterate. It may take practice. I do check dates, and buy the best looking, most fresh items. Oh! If you go to a store that seems dusty, and like the items aren't moving. It probably isn't the best pick. My main discount store is very very busy! People come from all over. They keep it really clean and items move. In fact my friends will often text me if there is a good deal on something special, because if you don't hurry up and get it, someone else will!
Take heart. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened for you.
I can not emphasize how important this is to the health and well-being of you body and mind to keep an orderly home. I don't usually begin here with people, with people, but I think it needs to be Numero Uno on the list of things to do to change your life.
This is secret tip number 5, in the long list of 100 tips I am going to share from my years studying natural health, and herbs. (20 now!)
veCleaning out clutter, is a touchy subject, it may be even more touchy than cleaning out the fridge. Telling or gently suggesting someone change their food choices is always a topic, I want to avoid, and talking about cleaning out their clutter, is way up there on the list of non-receptive topics with people.
I would say that for me, that I am somewhere in the happy middle, as far as having things organized, clean and cleanly but not so orderly that we can not live comfortably in the house. I have a distaste for clutter, and routinely clean house, donating what we do not need. I also have a rule for myself, that if a bunch of items come in, the same amount needs to go out. For instance, I was recently gifted 2 large trash bags of clothing (all nice) from a family member. (Hand-me downs are appreciated). In turn I cleaned out all of our closets, and drawers to find the same amount to donate. This little principle works great for me!
In my studies as an Herbalist- I heard Dr. Schulze speak about going to his clients homes, and these were clients with grave illness, and filling trash bag after trash bag of junk. (With their reluctant consent). I say reluctant, because it can be hard to part with things, especially if you have never done so before, but once you do it, you will find a thousand pounds is lifted from your shoulders.
I have never literally done this with anyone I have worked with, but I really wanted too! Many of the people I have helped with herbs, and have been in a bad way health wise, have had homes packed with possessions. Moving around was near impossible, cleaning properly, again impossible. Going in a home like that, I feel a constriction, a tightness in my chest, like it is hard to breathe. Living like that every day, must certainly diminish oxygen levels, as deep breathing feels stymied by clutter and dust.
There is an emotional component that plays into hoarding, or collecting that is difficult to get a person to break. In most situations, I think fear comes to play where there is a fear of not having enough, and so a person collects more than they would ever need and thus feels an illusion of safety. Cleaning out a home, is like pruning the branches of a tree gone wild with growth. Once that pruning is accomplished, the tree has air, and sun, and the birds come, and the soil is freshened and the tree can thus bear fruit. It is near impossible for a person to bring forth the fruit that God has created you to produce, in an environment that needs some deep cleaning, and extensive pruning.
Maybe you are not as extreme in your collecting habits, or haven't filled your home beyond livable circumstances, but maybe there is a small area that you are saving, and squirreling away. Take a look at what you are holding on to, it may be affecting your health. I know that for me, when I got married, I brought a slew of items into our house from friendships and relationships. That may sound shockingly normal, and I wish that I did not have as they call it "baggage." It took me years to realize that these items, these possessions, these attachments were in the way of making new bonds and attachments with my spouse.
Once I freed my home of old pictures (and most of these things were in storage), and old memories... I opened the door for a fresh new relationship with my husband. I love doing a spring cleaning each year, and cleaning out the items with holes, or broken parts, items that no longer serve. I especially love donating or giving away items I loved, but do not need anymore so someone else can be blessed. There is a definite feeling of completion and cleansing when you do a purge through your home.
In my previous post, I wrote about how you "Don't Need to Eat Perfectly to be Healthy." I wanted to start with that premise, and then come back to this one. This is the 4th blog post in a series of 100 I will be writing! I wanted to cover 100 tips, secret tips, from what I have learned in 20 years of study and running a natural health business.
Looks beautiful, doesn't it! Color, freshness, vibrancy. Plants have life, and if we want life, we need to eat them! We need to eat foods with vibrancy, color, freshness, and energy to have that same energy and vibrancy! I want to tell you a little story, well two little stories really......
My husband has a friend from grade school, whom we see from time to time. He has very pale, or fair skin. (This article is strictly based on observation, and not backed by science).
We, at one time, went to a family gathering at this friend's home, and there was a large spread of food, as most gatherings often have. For years, I brought my own food to everywhere we went. I did not in this instance, maybe I had a drink, or a couple of snacks but not a meal. When I went up to the table (we were outside) to get my meal, I noticed how there was NOTHING colorful on the table. NOTHING. I mean, nothing. Everything was either white or brown. There were not even a few, orange carrots, or a platter of fruit, even apples with skin would have been something.
The foods consisted of breads, pastas, potatoes, meats, cheeses and chips, and an assortment of those categories. I do not even think there were vegetables in the potato salad. It was a dismal display and I was very disappointed, as I usually eat an array of vegetables, with a little bit of the other stuff. I remember looking around and seeing the rest of this man's family and noticing how they were all pale/ fair, too. Now you may say, well fair skin must run in the family, and it probably does. However, I thought- isn't that strange, their skin reminds me of their food, colorless.
In another observation, I had a midwife, who was a vegetarian, and she drank juiced carrot juice, every day. (Or nearly everyday). Her skin was tan/ with an orange hue to it. She was an energetic, happy woman.
All I am saying is that there is something in the foods we eat, and if you eat foods with a lot of nutrients, and colors, you will see that manifest in your physical body. Before you get swept away with the thought that food, or what you eat does not matter, I urge you to reconsider. It is the same with cigarettes, or alcohol, or coffee. You may be tempted to compare yourself to someone who eats poorly, smokes, drinks and lives to 90 years old. They are truly and anomaly and were born with a sturdy disposition, and strong liver. Most people can not get away with abusing their bodies with food and other things.
Again let me reiterate, you are what you eat. You must definitely are, and you are also what your mother ate, and your father, and their parents and so on. So take care and treat your body right, for not only yourself and your children's children.
Before I leave you, I want to also drill home a common misconception that people have, and that gets them caught in bad eating habits. I have heard many people say that because it is a holiday, they will splurge and then get back to eating properly afterwards. I believe in treating myself, but only with healthy food choices. I never binge on unhealthy foods, with the thought that I will get back on track. I am not talking about a little piece of desert, or maybe a second helping of potatoes. I am talking about a full on decision to eat and drink whatever you wish, and then make up for it later.
Truly, it will take you weeks to make it up, and more than likely you will have begun a downward spiral that is hard to break and very hard to get back on track. As the holidays are approaching, I start thinking ahead and setting my mind towards eating the same as I do now. Too many times in the past, I would splurge at Thanksgiving, which would carry me through December, and of course with all those holidays, I would wind up run down and sick in January and February.
Mind what you are eating today! Start today. Think ahead for this winter, and cold and flu season. Healthy eating, with limited amounts of sugar should be your number one priority for staying well.
Have a blessed, and fruit and vegetable filled day!
This blog post is going to be followed by one that may seem to contradict this one, but really does not. It will be called "You Are What You Eat." In that post I will explain that what you eat matters. However, I am leading with this one, because I want to dispel the myth that you need to be a PERFECT eater, because there is no such thing!
, ,;Before I began my health journey, I paid not a wit to what I ate. I was one of those people, who had been active, and never gained weight. I did have a weird spike in my weight before I found the way of natural healing, and than a dramatic drop in my weight; both things got my attention. The spike was from a bloated, grain and gluten packed diet, and the drop was from a graduated intolerance for those foods, causing my body to develop some sort or Irritable Bowel/Chron's. I'm not sure, because I never got diagnosed. I do know this- I was not well, had no energy, weighed below 100 lbs., and had a slew of other issues.
This got my attention for sure! Before that, I ate kind of what I was craving, (and I am speaking of my college years). I went to a Chiropractor after a number of regular practitioners were unable to give me any help, besides drugs and prescriptions. I think I was a lucky one. I have heard stories where people in similar situations encountering years of tests and intrusive treatments, surgeries, and more until they gave up allopathic and went a more nature based route. I only gave a few months of my time, and I remember one of my doctors saying to me, in regards to recurring yeast infections. "Some women just have to live with them."
I remember thinking. THIS is your answer. This is your solution. I have to live with them. I couldn't live with them; they were HORRIBLE. If you have ever had one, you know! Incredibly debilitating. God must have already been leading me to my path in life, because I was working at an herb shop, and met a Chiropractor who gave Nutritional counseling. One session with her, changed my entire life.
1. She sat and talked to me like a human being. 2. She gave me two herbs which I will be forever grateful and worked immediately to fix my problem (Goldenseal and Echinacea), and 3. She told me to watch my sugar.
At that point, I was a sugar addict, and didn't know it. I began to cut out sugar everywhere I could, and I was diligent because I did not want another infection. These efforts paid off, as far as the yeast infections were concerned, but I had A LOT to learn about nutrition and health before I really balanced myself.
What I am going to say next is very serious and if you have a serious health issue, I must express you do not try to fix your problem alone. I think anyone who has something "big deal" going on, will have many facets that need to be addressed. I had help from a lot of spiritual guides, and natural health persons along my journey the past 20 years. I went to a Nutritionist for 3 years straight until I really sorted out my grain addiction/ gluten addiction. During that time, I did eat very strictly. So, if you have a serious problem and you go at it naturally, you may need to be strict with your diet and attempt perfection (FOR A TIME), but this is not sustainable long term.
I am going to tell you why you don't need to eat PERFECTLY indefinitely and maybe I should say what Perfect might even be. When I refer to Perfect. I mean Organic. Organic food, Grass fed meats, (assuming you are eating meats), Local, Best soils, Best Farm Practices). EVERY SINGLE THING in your house says Organic. You only shop in the expensive aisle at the grocery store, or buy the most expensive everything!
I know people who have attempted this, and tried this. They also got very sick and they were eating "Perfectly." The reason, in my opinion is that this is ridiculously hard, and stresses you out so much, that it negates all the benefits from eating well.
During my time of eating "Perfect," For me that meant, not eating any Gluten, or Dairy. I could not tolerate either food when I really started working on my diet. (Or I found out that I could not). Removing these foods from my diet helped soooo much. I was darn near perfect too. I did not cheat at all. If I ate something, it was by accident, or if I had failed to ask the specific details in a dish someone else prepared. Today I eat dairy. Raw products, mainly goat, and some skim based yogurts. I do not over do it! Before I think I only ate dairy and wheat. Now I may have a cup of yogurt a week, or a cup of goat milk during a week with cereal. I may sprinkle a little bit of cheese in a salad, and this really works well for me.
Going back to PERFECTION and eating. It can really become a disorder of the mind, and an obsession. You can become so worried about every bite you eat, that you are NOT helping yourself at all. I do think there is a term for this. It is called "orthorexia." It was coined in 1998 and is characterized as an obsession to eat healthy. I think I probably had this at one time. You do not want to get that way, and I am trying to warn you right now. You can be healthy and NOT be perfect.
I have come to a place where I buy Organic produce when I can. We have a few great discount produce stores near where I live. When they have organic, healthy produce- I am thrilled and see it as Providence. I try to buy local as much as possible, and most of my local farms are not classified "Organic" but do not spray. I faithfully stay away from Corn Syrup, Food Dyes, and weird preservatives, but I do not buy 100% Organic by any means. I definitely do not when I go to a regular grocery store, because my bill will be triple what I spend when I shop discount (another whole blog post in and of itself).
One time I really prayed to try to understand God's will about shopping for food. I was driving allll over the county to get all the healthiest versions of everything I needed at good prices. God spoke to me and I heard distinctly that I should stop doing that, and buy local. I picked the 2 stores that I have within about 10 min. driving distance. 1 is 5 min. away, and the other about 10. The store that is 5 minutes is my discount store, and I have bought some amazing foods, on sale, and I put my trust in that God will provide, like He provided Manna for the Israelites in the desert.
The amazing thing is that He provides every single week, and what I do not find at the local store, I go get at my chain store. Then there are still some farms, and specialty shops I love, and I refrain from going there, unless I am already in the area. Just doing this took me a while to change my habits, but it saves me a lot of energy, stress, and anxiety over shopping for the "perfect" foods.
SO HERE IS THE REASON YOU DON"T NEED TO EAT PERFECTLY....................
What I found is that most of my health problems were not wrong food problems. Although a healthy balanced diet is important, my health problems were more THOUGHT problems. I had a lot of bad thoughts, bad programming if you will. Negative thoughts, bad experiences, stress, regret, bitterness, upset, anger, and a slew of other "non-happy" feelings reeking havoc on my health. If I would have understood this sooner, I would have saved myself a lot of time and heartache. I wound up doing a lot of my mind reprogramming by reading spiritual books. This was a slow process of teeny revelations. One revelation at a time, I let go of many fears, and limiting beliefs that kept me trapped in an unhealthy body.
If you do not have great health, diet will be very helpful, but I urge you to get some help with rewiring the thought processes in your brain. I didn't have a lot of money, in the beginning of my journey, so I did everything I could for free, or inexpensively. I listened to Podcasts, I attended some self help groups, prayer groups, counseling at church, book clubs, and even put together some of my own groups for encouragement and growth. I paid for some counseling, but in my opinion counseling can be very slow, very expensive, and often keeps someone stuck. I really tried to let the Spirit guide me to the next healer and the next healer in my life. Sometimes I had one appointment with someone and had major revelations which carried me through big hurdles. I did buy a few online course kind of programs that were more expensive, ones I could listen to over and over again and they helped enormously. They would also have course work, which became really important for me to grow. I filled art journals for a few years, visualizing a new me.
I also was a part of some private Facebook groups that shared similar problems, and I found support there. These days, I listen to a lot of self hypnosis videos that train the mind to think positively or program the mind rather, for success, health and wellness. My favorite teacher is Jake Ducey on You Tube. There have been many teachers in my life, some I never met, some I have only read their books.
I guess to sum this up I will say- the reason why you do not need to eat perfectly is because SELF GROWTH is the key to unlock the door to Wellness. Do not get stuck at the food portion. GROW. This is a journey of life and about growing as a human being. I will leave you with this quote.
"Half of spiritual growth is about learning what we don't know. The other half is about learning what we do know."