Making health decisions for your family isn't always the easy choice.

Before my daughter was born my husband and I discussed how we would raise her in regards to dietary choices. Just a few months prior to birth I discovered my gluten intolerance and so after doing my research I knew we would keep her gluten free. But what about birthday parties? What about sweet treats? My husband would ask me. Why can’t we allow her to do what “normal” kids do?

Why is it assumed “normal” for kids to eat candy, junk food, processed sugar and food colouring? Well because that’s what we both were brought up on so it must have been ok then right? I used to drink more soda then water, eat more processed food then fresh and what I had because of it was health concerns, mood disorders and autoimmune disease.

The more I learned the more I knew I didn’t want that for my daughter. So my husband and I came to the decision we would avoid those “normal” kid treats or discover healthy alternatives.

So when we were told about this place while visiting Kauai we had to go. Organic, food dye free shaved ice!! Yes! I have not had a shaved ice in who knows how long and this was a first for my kids. Have they seen others eat them before yes of course but they never got to experience it because those were all packed full of numerous food dyes which my kids know we avoid cause they are bad for their brains.

Did they enjoy it? Yes! Did they finish that huge bowl? No way. Maybe half way and they were done.

Is it the easy route when junk food, candy and food dye filled treats are so easily accessible? No of course not. I have to tell them no and why they can’t have things all the time. It’s not that I don’t want them to not enjoy these fun treats every now and then but I do want to empower them with healthier choices. For them to learn why I have made the choices I have so when they get older they can make the choices for themselves.

Holistic Living — Getting Started

You hear ‘holistic living’, ‘holistic lifestyle’, ‘holistic health’, ‘holistic doctor’, ‘holistic dentist’ a lot now, and it seems anything else can be termed holistic these days, right? True story — about 10 years ago when I applied to nursing school and discovered the nursing school I was applying for was a holistic program I had to look up the actual definition of holistic. I honestly didn’t know what holistic even meant. So, in case you are like me, here is the definition per webster:

“Relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.”

So basically it’s about the whole picture. Looking at everything vs just one component; focusing on the whole picture rather then just individual parts. In terms of living a holistic lifestyle then, we need to look around and see all the things that may be influencing our health.

I know what you’re thinking — you just got really overwhelmed even thinking about it. You’re thinking, ‘Look around? That means the clothes I am wearing, the air I am breathing, the food I am eating, the product on my face and the water I am drinking may all be impacting my health?! Ah, how does one battle all of these things?’

Right now, I want you to take a deep breath. Ok, now I want you to let go of the overwhelm because we live in a chemical-filled environment and there is only so much we can actually control. So your journey towards a holistic lifestyle is your journey. And the journey consists of just one day and one thing at a time, and is unique to you. The key words are ‘journey’ and ‘unique’ in that sentence.

Let’s dive into the areas of one’s life that most people focus on when starting out on a holistic lifestyle path. Chemicals I think would be number one. Oh that list is huge. We are exposed to chemicals consistently. Our environment is so chemically rich that they have found more than 200 chemicals in the placentas of new born babies. So foetuses are being introduced to chemicals prior to birth.

I am not telling you this to make you live in a bubble, but merely for you to recognize that chemicals are everywhere and as much as we try to get rid of them we truly wouldn’t be able to completely. But we can absolutely limit them and replacing one household cleaning product, one personal care product, and plastic container at a time can start you on the path of reduction.

‘Reduction’ is the name of the game when it comes to chemical exposure. I highly suggest starting with just one area. For me the cleaning cabinet was the easiest because I could just throw it all away. DIY cleaners were the easiest to make. Seriously, if you don’t already have doTERRA essential oils in your home they are a must for cleaners.

I can’t talk about reducing chemicals without mentioning organic produce. Look up the dirty dozens. Take a screen shot of the list and save to your phone. Start with those. They are the produce that has high chemical content, so start with those as organic, and then you can work up from there.

Here’s a link to an article you can read giving you a detailed list:

Health would be the next big topic when it comes to holistic living.

Now the topic of health we can talk for an entire week about because there are so many amazing modalities and ways to help manage your health holistically. When I think of holistic health I think of empowerment. When I made the switch to looking and treating my health in a holistic manner I felt like I gained the power back in regards to my health.

Essential oils, nutritional supplementation, herbs and homeopathic’s is what we have turned to in our home since making the shift years ago. In this shift, I have really tuned into my body. I’ve listened to it and tuned into my kids needs as well. It’s like I gained my intuition back and learned to listen to my body again. Now, with the million modalities where does one get started? Honestly, I think essential oils are a perfect gateway. They are safe, effective and easy to learn and use. I start there with most people and build on the knowledge based off the needs and the readiness of the person. Again every journey is unique. My biggest encouragement to you is to just get started. Be prepared and stock up your tool kit once your get started, because you will want to be prepared for anything that comes your way.

Your body.

How can we not mention the body yet? Well we did in term of health and living more a holistic lifestyle, but we haven’t talked about the body as a whole. This amazing body. Really have you stopped and thought about the incredibleness of body? The way your blood is pumped out of your heart and flows through your arteries and veins. What about the entire process that occurs when you take a bite of a sandwich from start to finish? I have been fascinated with it for so long and that’s probably a key factor to my decision to became a nurse. It really needs to be appreciated. When was the last time you actually said ‘thank you’ to your body. It is constantly working and I am so grateful for a healthy body. How can we show our gratitude? How about by taking care of it? Allowing it to move, feeding it good food, caring for all pieces of it and loving all that it does for you. What if we all started appreciating our body more? Recognized its needs and nourished it, and got curious about how that would impact you.

Let’s move onto the next step of holistic lifestyle. Your mind.

Our mind is a powerful thing. On my journey I was feeling good health-wise and I was feeling confident with reducing chemical exposure. I was feeling in control of my health but I was still negative and resentful. My mind was out of balance with where I wanted to go and the life I wanted to live.

Remember holistic living is the whole and completeness. I was not whole I was avoiding the mind cause I didn’t recognize how it was impacting me as a whole. And that is when my love for personal development started. I started reading, which I hadn’t done really since college, I started listening to podcasts and talks on Youtube and I started to implement what I was learning. Created a gratitude journal and got to work. It was time to bring my mind into the holistic lifestyle.

Spirituality for a holistic lifestyle?

Yes absolutely. I believe we are all spiritual beings no matter what your faith. And this part of us needs nourishment and acknowledgment too. In this connection to your spirituality, something bigger then yourself, is where I discovered much within me. With that connection I felt connected to a meaning and a purpose. This connection may look different for everyone. You may like to go to church, pray at home or meditate. The practice of connection to your spirituality is very personal and individualized. However that looks to you is perfect, but neglecting this piece can create a disconnect to self and feeling whole.

Holistic living is one step at a time and long-term journey. I often think of it as just the road I have decided to take. I don’t know how long the road goes or what turns or stops I have ahead but I just keep trucking along the path. I’m learning more as I go along.

Which one of these segments spoke to you the most? Start there. Welcome to the holistic lifestyle.

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An Easy Way to Start Your Journey to Better Health

I know I know you have heard it a million times….Drink more water! But those sweet frizzy drinks are so much better right. Well you can be empowered to make a change without some valid reasons why you will want to change. So here are some key reasons to fill up that water bottle.

1. Flush out the toxins. Not only is drinking water going to support your kidneys and sifting through the waste to get rid of drinking water will also help flush out the toxins that affect the skin. So drinking water clears the kidneys and the skin.

2. Boost your productivity. Water can help you focus. Well the brain is made up of 75% water so make sense that staying hydrated would affect the brain in a positive way.

3. Water for alertness? A common symptom of dehydration is feeling tired. Move over coffee and grab your water instead.

4. Pooping. Water helps you stay regular and keeps the poops soft. Poop is waste products so the more you go the more waste leaves the body which is a good thing.

5. Lose weight from drinking water. Try drinking a glass of water 30 mins before your meal to help you feel fuller thus prevents over eating.

Bored with water? Good news you can add a drop of essential oil to your glass for not only flavouring but also to assist with removing toxins, alertness, digestive and supporting metabolism. I would only use doTERRA’s essential oils in this way and I have personally done so for the past few years. My favourites are wild orange for alertness and digestive, grapefruit for aiding with toxin removal plus its sweet so helps curb my sugar cravings, and lemon as it supports all of the top five reasons to drink more water.

How much water should you drink every day? Depends on activity level, age, and consumption of water rich fruits and veggies. Aim for 2 litres a day and listen to your body. Carry a water bottle with you to ensure you have it when your body is requesting it.

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Advocating For Our Kids

Parents it’s up to us. We are the advocates for our kids. We as parents need to educate ourselves and think deeper and outside the traditional box. The box where following the methods of our parents and doing just what the doctors says is crumbling. Times have changed.

When I was a child I never heard my mom really question what she was feeding us or what the doctor told her to do. The internet wasn’t around then so to find alternatives, learn about dietary issues or complications with traditional routes you would have to seek a professional in the field or go to the library for some books.

We now live in a society where we have access to information at our finger tips. We can find research articles in a search engine. We can become educated and find professionals in various fields and book appointments through the internet. So my question is — why are some of us not utilizing these tools? Why are we still going off of what our parents did or only what the western doctors say?

Now don’t get me wrong, doctors are brilliant people and needed, but most are only trained in medicine. ‘Medicine’ meaning you have an ailment, they confirm it, give medication that is applicable and send you on your way. Most often they are not looking at underlying possible causes of why you have the ailment to begin with. Most medical schools require very little nutrition. On average just 8 hours of training in nutrition is required, and again most are not educated on possible natural alternatives.

That’s where we parents come into play. We need to be the ones to dig and ask questions. We need to seek out the answers and often times need to get a team around our children to support their needs. If we don’t ask the questions then how can we find any answers? We cannot just blindly do as we are told anymore. We are not blind and we have the tools that our parents did not.

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I am passionate about this for two reasons:

  • If I didn’t advocate for my son and dig deep then he would have most likely been medicated at the age of 3.
  • Children need us to make this stand for them. Our kids, our future, are being heavily medicated.

Now you may think it’s not that big of a deal that just a few kids are getting prescribed medications. But did you know that a report published in 2013 by the IMS Health company (the largest vendor for US physician prescribing data) 1,080,168 children ages 0–5 years old were on some type of psychiatric drug. These drugs include: ADHD drugs, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medications. 0–5 year olds! Now 8,389,034 is the total number of kids on the same type of medications from ages 0–17.

What effect do you think these medications would have on a developing brain? What about addiction? Medications causing side effects? In 2004, a black box warning was placed on antidepressants because they may cause suicide in children and teens.

Do you think there may be another option? What about the root cause? What about diet? Alternative therapies? This is where we as parents are the ones that can turn this upward trend back down again. Now, I will state that in some cases medication is necessary, but also digging deep to root causes and making needed adjustments or implement alternative therapies alongside the medication can possibly lead to decreased dependency on the prescription. My goal is to open parents minds to ask questions and seek out options.

As stated earlier, if I didn’t take the steps needed for my son he would have most likely become one of those children taking medication for a behavioural issues. When my son started preschool at the age of 3 he was “different”. He had trouble concentrating, was speech delayed, was disruptive to the other children and was loud. He was also extremely bright so this put up some red flags with the school. They suggested I go get an evaluation and possibly diagnosis. Well that was my last resort. I wanted to dig deep first and see what I could find.

So we booked in to see our holistic doctor and got some tests. Food intolerance test to see if something he’s eating is affecting his gut health which would in turn affect his brain, we got a hair analysis to check for nutritional deficiencies and heavy metals. The last test was a urine neurotransmitters test.

I was surprised by the results. Intolerant to peanuts, eggs, pineapple, and corn. Hair shown a lot of mercury, aluminum and lack of magnesium. And the neurotransmitters tested showed he was high in dopamine. After the initial shock I was extremely grateful to the school to push me down the path. I found things that would absolutely be affecting his brain and behavior and I could implement natural alternatives to help balance him out.

We have eliminated the foods, got him on probiotics, used natural detoxing options like vitamin c and cilantro and added supplements to help increase serotonin and thus decrease his dopamine levels.

He is doing great! He’s speech has improved since making the changes and getting him into speech therapy, he is thriving in school and only has the best reports.

So my question to you is what may be hiding underneath the surface? Can you dig deep? Can you question the norm and make a stand for your child?

The adjustments originally were not easy but without me doing the work, finding the team to rally around him, and saying no to the traditional route first where would my son be now? On medications at the age of 3?