Thursday, June 30, 2016

Supporting a Healthy Pregnancy (PT-5 What else am I doing?)

Every time you take good care of yourself, know your baby feels that care. Right now the both of you share an extremely special connection, so whatever you do, baby does essentially. When you are relaxed and happy, so is baby. Your choices to move each day, drink lots of water, avoid toxins, eat well, being sure to remember your supplements, rest daily and at night as much as possible especially in the beginning and end of your pregnancy, practicing methods for stress reduction, and spending quality time with your spouse connecting in romantic ways and more. In this article I will discuss specific areas that I've been engaging in either on my own or with my husband to enhance and celebrate this natural and so beautiful part of life's circle.

 (Engagement Photo June 2015 to the left...found this one and loved it because of his hands on my belly, very suiting. Imagine 4 months after our wedding we get the joyous news! I know we didn't waste any!)

I was really excited to get to this particular blog article because there's so many things you can do throughout your pregnancy to make it enjoyable for you, baby, and spouse. Much like essentials oils in which you can get your spouse involved by using them himself for his own daily health and wellness (with oils appropriate for him), there are other practices that you both can and should take part in, as you are both equal parts in this beautiful making of new life that the Lord Yeshua has brought you both together to do for His glory. From the moment of conception this new phase in your family began to form and be knitted by your Holy Creator. You all hold so much value and carry very special roles. Make sure to life up your spouse always and let him know how important he is in this entire life long process. The making of a family never ends as it takes hard work and commitment. This is only the beginning!

What Else Am I Doing?


One commitment that I made to myself from the get go was to be active through the pregnancy whenever possible. I was already pretty active before pregnancy, and fitness experts as well as pre-natal care providers now say to keep doing whatever movement you were doing before pregnancy in pregnancy, as you get further along to modify as needed. Staying active through the movement of your choice encourages a healthy labor due Momma's strength, endurance, and flexibility all being supported beforehand. I will share what my movement choices have been, but know you can surely do something different according to your liking and what your pre-natal care provider approves of for your safety. Also if you haven't been very active before getting pregnant, consider getting active, but go slow and again discuss your movement plans with your health professional so you can make the best decisions.

I've really been motivated to stay active throughout all of these months. I walked quite a bit, not as long as I would've liked, but I kept it up, right until these last few weeks. Walking is not so easy with this sweet extra cargo. I would walk 2-3 miles max, I couldn't go farther than that, and that is okay. I found I could not walk farther without becoming too fatigued. I did not walk too much in my first trimester because of the weather and I was very nauseous.

Other ways that I have kept moving have been through an awesome pre-natal Pilates on DVD with Lizbeth Garcia and also Suzanne Bowen's pre-natal barre Slim & Toned workout on DVD. I found it simplest to work out from home as well as cost effective. I've loved both DVDs. I really have enjoyed the option of combining as many Pilates workouts as I wanted. She offer's 5 on the DVD so you can do one 10 minute Pilates workout or all 5, I always have done 3. Do not push yourself if you are new to fitness. Start with walking. I am very familiar with Pilates and barre since I've taken formal classes at studios. I've had excellent barre instructors actually using Suzanne Bowen's method at a local studio here in Raleigh called Barre Up. If you are in the area, you can drop in to take classes. Please tell them I sent you if you go.  It would be an excellent idea to take some classes at a local studio so you can truly understand the method and form of both types of exercise. They are both similar in that they utilize the core muscles all of the time.

Oh I cannot forget to mention my exercise ball! This has been invaluable for comfort, flexibility, core building, practicing kegel exercises, and stress relief for me. If you do not have a ball, consider the one in the link made with more eco friendly materials. I love the size of this ball for me. If you opt to purchase one, get the right size that fits you. Perhaps go to a sporting good store in the exercise section and see if they have several inflated so that you can sit on them and try them out before purchasing one. I spend probably 10-15 minutes or more on the ball everyday. I start out on it in the morning soon after getting out of bed. I find it relaxes my hips and back. If I feel discomfort throughout the day, I will sit on it and do side rocks. This is very helpful for me. I am bringing my ball to the birthing center on delivery day. They already have them there, but again the size of mine is perfect, and just in case the one they have there that is a good fit is in use, I now will not have a need for concern. Balls are very useful during labor.

In the picture is featured my Think Sport Pilates mat. I had gotten rid of my old one quite some time ago due to the toxic chemicals that it contained. The Think Sport Mat is composed of safe non-toxic materials - free of Bisphenol-A (BPA), PVC, lead, phthalates, dioxins, and biologically toxic chemicals.


Let me tell you something, sleep is sacred. Do not get between a Momma and her good night's rest. Right around 4-5 months in pregnancy a regular pillow in between my legs was not doing it. I was up night after night in discomfort until the Snoogle. I've not spent a single night of this pregnancy without it since my husband brought it home. It was the best $60 EVER spent! Do not second guess it, do not pass go, bring home the Snoogle to Momma! You can purchase a cover for it as well. The person who thought of this was a genius! Unfortunately, it does kind of put a damper on snuggling with hubby since the pillow completely envelopes you, regardless a happy better rested wife inevitably makes for a happy husband.


Through my Momma friend, blogger, and health coach, Madeline Blom, owner of Mommas Organics, I learned about something called HypnoBirthing. Madeline and I have been pregnant together, she is just a week behind me, so it's been a fun journey sharing stories, and encouraging one another on this beautiful walk through pregnancy. I only wish we lived closer to each other. Anyway...back to HypnoBirthing...I was excited to learn about it from Madeline because I had noticed her mention it twice and I absolutely had to find out what it was she was taking classes for with a certified friend of hers. I'd been on a search, as a crunchy, healthy Momma for a way to experience pregnancy and birth as a natural progression life that could be much more peaceful and even serene unlike the way pregnancy and birthing is most often treated here in the United States. I was through with everyone's negative birth stories including my own. In my heart and mind I knew there had to be a better way.

It turns out what I was searching for could be found in HypnoBirthing. Already resolving to give birth out of a traditional hospital setting, I knew there had to be more. There are several websites and instructors who teach HypnoBirthing in which there are variances. After research I'd found I like the combination of several. I typically gravitate toward European thought in several areas. I enjoyed watching some YouTube videos. Here is one set of videos I've enjoyed.

 I finally settled down to study with HypnoBirthing the Mongan Method. Specifically from the website here is the HypnoBirthing description: The HypnoBirthing® program is built around an educational process that includes special breathing, relaxation, visualization, meditative practice, attention to nutrition and positive body toning. Most importantly it fosters an air of mutual respect for the birthing family, as well as the health-care provider in a traditional health-care system or an alternative setting. 

Despite my love for a great British accent, Marie Mongan, creator of the Mongan Method is a US native. I am as well, so it's all good. Marie Mongan holds credentials as stated on the HypnoBirthing Website: She is a counselor and is certified as a hypnotherapist, hypnoanesthesiologist, and instructor of hypnotherapy. She is the mother of four adult children, all born in the late ’50s and early ’60s. She experienced all four labors without labor medication, using the theories of Dr. Jonathan Dye, of Buffalo, New York, and Grantly Dick-Read, of the UK, two pioneers in natural childbirth. Two of her birthings were entirely free of anesthesia at a time when it was unheard of, and her husband was by her side in both the labor room and the “delivery” room.

When I spoke to my husband about studying the method he was instantly receptive as he too was concerned with things going as peaceful as possible through the rest of our pregnancy and in labor/delivery. Having a supportive spouse is so very very important. He has such a special role and is much needed. This is not to say one could not study HypnoBirthing on her own if that support was not present, having that support makes things so much better though. If a supportive spouse is not available, a close family member, friend, or doula would also be excellent.

You can choose to study the method a variety of ways either by working with a certified HypnoBirthing instructor one on one, taking a certified class, or reading the book and listening to the included CD on your own. While I would've loved to have taken classes, due to my current schedule, I opted to read the book with my husband at home. Daily, sometimes twice, I listen to the included relaxation CD.

Allow your midwife or obstetrician, whoever is currently conducting your pre-natal care, to know that you are studying the HypnoBirthing Method. If you have hired a doula, include her on the information as well. If any healthcare provider is not familiar, give them the website to do further research. Get as much support as possible. It is important for your healthcare providers to understand your desires and train of thought for your pregnancy and your birth. Women have practiced this method in traditional hospitals, outside birthing centers, and at home births. Do not think if you are having a hospital birth that you cannot utilize this method. While some on call at the time may not understand it completely, I'd venture to say most staff would be very supportive of any measures you'd be taking to ensure a more joyful and calmer birthing experience.  More and more hospitals are realizing a woman's desire for less medical intervention and more natural means whenever possible.

More Reading & Research

Onto more adventures, another topic that I began to read about and decide that I'd like to embark on is the joy of cloth diapering. I decided that I wanted to cloth diaper because I really wanted to avoid the chemicals that are in disposable diapers. I knew I didn't want plastics, petroleum, and dyes against my baby's skin, especially in the diaper area. I also did not want to spend a fortune on greener and cleaner disposable diaper choices. I know I will probably keep some around for emergencies or the church nursery, but other than that, I'm really not interested in that crazy expense if I can avoid it. Sadly, I became weary quickly in my research. DO you have any idea how many choices there are today? This is not the cloth diapering of long ago. Fortunately, I knew where to turn! The image to the left is the logo for my friend and cloth diapering expert, Jenny's blog, Cloth Diaper Revival. She is an excellent resource, so do please check out her blog. Jenny and I attend the same church. As soon as Jenny found out I was pregnant, she was elated, and when I mentioned my interest in cloth diapering she was right there. She even gave me a tour of all she has in her home, her best tips, ways to make cloth diapering the least expensive (after all this is a huge reason to do it...saving $$$). If you are not fortunate enough to know Jenny personally, please understand that before reading her blog I was way overwhelmed. She has the best advice, and knows what it is like to be on a budget. Jenny also advised that I read this book (picture above), Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering, by Kelly Wels. I've found the book helpful as well. I will not go into whatI've chosen to use right now, because quite frankly that might change. I feel very confident in my choices though, and will blog about that later.


As a certified IIN Health Coach, I am a enormous advocate for positive, healthy, self-care. Something you might consider luxuries, are really necessities. Especially as women and mothers in our culture here in the United States, we tend to get things backwards, run ourselves ragged, and really not see an accurate picture of what is going on in our bodies. When we take care of ourselves we are taking care of others by setting a good example and making ourselves the best we can be in order to serve those around us.

Two services that I've chosen to take regular part in have been chiropractics and massage. I have chosen these two because I understand the importance of a healthy lymphatic system, good muscular skeletal support, and stress relief all the time, and especially during pregnancy. These two services are not the same, but go hand in hand. Remember when Momma is well, so is baby.

I have been seeing my chiropractor since 2009. Her name is Dr. Melissa Roccos. My teens and husband are also her patients, as will be this little pumpkin after birth. I'll blog about the baby's first chiropractor visit later and the why behind chiropractic care for infants. If you are local to SE Raleigh, here is her practice website, Elite Chiropractics. Please tell Dr. Roccos I referred you. Here is a coupon for a free consultation to her practice. I've chosen to be diligent about my chiropractic care through my pregnancy because as my baby belly grows that puts more stress on my entire body. Getting properly aligned really assists the body with proper function.

Massage to many is misundertood. Those who take part in it regularly understand the significance in healthy, non-sexual touch. The human body responds to positive touch as part of  a healing mechanism. This is why I prefer layering essential oils on my husband and children instead of using roller bottles. While I love the convenience of roller bottles, and certainly keep them around, without getting into a deep discussion, much better save for another article, our energy in our bodies receives other's touch, as long as it again is positive, as a way to put the mind and body at ease in a very special way (wow, there's so much more I could say...holding back for now). Professional massage is such a needed regular therapy. If you are in the Raleigh area, my wonderful licensed massage therapist, is Sonja Galan. Her website is Unwind Massage Therapy. If professional massage is not an option for you, do not discount massage from your spouse or another loved one. My sweet teens will rub my hands and feet often. Engage your spouse if he is not already in daily body massages. My husband uses Young Living Valor, frankincense, and lavender when he massages me for support and enjoyment. On my feet he will use peppermint as well.

Please comment below on what you did during your pregnancy to encourage health and wellness! As time gets closer, so does my excitement! I'll be 39 weeks tomorrow! Look for my next blog article soon! Blessings, love, and grace to all!

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Brock, HHC

Health Disclaimer: No medical diagnoses, claims or promises of cures have been made. The information offered is simply for educational purposes. Any addition to diet or supplement routines should be discussed with your regular health professional.

There are affiliate links in this article. You are never required to shop through them. If you do though, I want to say thank you. If you like the information that I present, know that shopping through those links helps me to keep writing.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Supporting a Healthy Pregnancy (PT-4 What supplements am I using?)

During conception into pregnancy our female bodies are miracles upon miracles being used by the Lord as vessels to create life and then grow it. Wow! It's just awesome! It is a beautiful natural, healthy process. It is our role as Mommas to provide a healthy inner environment for our growing darlings inside of us. This includes eating the best foods, reducing stress, staying active, resting frequently, as well as supplementing our nutrition when needed with the highest quality natural supplements.

Yes, I do believe in some supplementation for the body during pregnancy and otherwise. Our food system has been so traumatized and stripped that even in organic foods, we lack nutrition as in earlier days. We are also inundated by all types of pollution that affect our bodies physical, mental, and emotional wellness. I feel really blessed to have access to and knowledge about high quality supplements from self-study over 7 years, working in a natural food and supplement store, working as a demo rep for natural supplements, as well as attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where not only food and dietary theories are studied, but natural lifestyle maintenance as well. *Always be sure to check with your healthcare professional before adding any supplementation.

Our babies receive their nutrition from us, so often if we as Mommas are not careful, that can leave us empty handed in the nutrition department. Natural supplements can assist in this area. Truth be told not too much of my regular supplementation routine has changed. Keep in mind supplements can never replace healthy habits and whole foods, but it is where we lack, that they can support. So you cannot expect to run through the drive thru all of the time and your pre-natal vitamin to make up for the loss of nutrition. Sometimes even with our best efforts to eat healthy supplementation is still necessary, so your job Momma is not to feel badly, but to find the best options. In this article I will simply share what I've been doing throughout my pregnancy. Keep in mind everyone's body is different and needs will vary. My choices for supplementation have been approved through my midwife and staff at the birthing center. Make sure you are to do the same with your pre-natal care provider.

I opted to not do a pre-natal vitamin. I'm really not a proponent for a multi-vitamin and this is what a pre-natal vitamin is, so let's talk. When I look at the way the Lord designed our foods, He didn't put every nutrient into every food. We have multiple foods to choose from for a reason. We are to eat a varied diet, lots of vegetables with every color of the rainbow, healthy fats, some high quality animal products, some fruits, and some nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes if you can tolerate them and they are prepared well. We must listen to our bodies needs at the time. All that to say, I'm not so sure a multi-vitamin or pre-natal is the best way to utilize funds. Also when packing every vitamin and mineral known to man into a tiny pill, I wonder how it is we are really getting enough, especially in something that says one a day. I find it to be more promising to supplement individually with what we need. While I realize this can sometimes be more expensive and a nuisance to swallow so many pills, I see more benefit to our bodies, and after all isn't that what we want? We also need to be aware of what minerals and vitamins are absorbed better or poorly together as well as what foods are best to eat while taking certain supplements.

Supplements I Have Been Taking and Why

This is one of my favorite parts of my day....taking my Young Living Ningxia Red. I love the delicious healthy supportive  citrus essential oils included. In the beginning of my pregnancy I only took two ounces. Now in my third trimester I've boosted it to 4 ounces. It really improves my natural vitality, supports my mind, and my digestive system, I really feel a difference.

The core secret are the wolfberries (goji berries) grown in the Northern Province of China. Ningxia Red contains a wolfeberry puree, so it's the whole berry and not just the juice. For centuries wolfberries have been a source of natural longevity. Superfood and raw food speaker and expert, David Wolfe, says, "The goji berry is an adaptogen, a term used in the world of medicinal plants to describe a substance with a combination of therapeutic actions on the human body." Basically, most adapotgenic herbs are able to give the body what it needs on the scale that it needs it. Goji berries or wolfberries, support the immune system, healthy hormone function, vision, neurological health, and cardiovascular health. They are packed with antioxidants so when we eat them we are supporting our body's function to ward off cancer inside our cells.

Toward the end of my second trimester I had a blood test at the birthing center. My iron was a little low, which is normal in pregnancy since baby gets the best of our nutrition, and we as the mommas get the left overs (ironic isn't it, that does not seem to change even after baby comes out). After a discussion with my midwife I opted for a liquid plant based iron. I really liked the herbs included in the Gaia Herbs Plant Force Liquid Iron. It is important for iron levels to be stable for baby to keep growing well and to ensure a healthy delivery. Plant food based iron supplements are always better because they tend to absorb more and not overwhelm the system. They also do not constipate like most synthetic iron pills.

For an extra iron boost I also added some more superfoods. Algaes  are wonderful vegetarian sources of iron. I liked this combo by Sunfood Superfoods Super Algae Tablets: Spirulina and Chlorella. I've taken both algaes throughout the years to support my health and wellness.  Dr. Joshua Axe, chiropractor and holistic wellness speaker and personality,  says that spirulina detoxes heavy metals, can help eliminate candida over growth, boost energy, and more.

Chlorella is very rich in iron, and while I'm not taking it to try to detox, it is a natural cleanser of toxins for the body. I am only taken as many as suggested to start on the package and no more. You can add on as your body needs and adjusts, but since I'm going for nutrition and not detoxing, I'm doing the minimum amount. It is a also a support to healthy blood sugar which is wonderful during pregnancy. Blood sugar balance is a topic I've never had any issues with mostly due to my daily in take of vegetables, fermented foods, being mostly grain free and all gluten free,  lots of healthy fats, and consuming mostly low sugar fruits. Despite my past, I was happy to know in this pregnancy there were no issues. Chlorella is also a rich source for protein, and that again is a pregnancy plus.

For daily immune support I've utilized Young Living Thieves Essential Oil blend on my feet and Young Living Thieves Vitality under my tongue. The Young Living Thieves blend is unlike any other type of Thieves blend because it does have  a GRAS rating for ingestion and dietary support. Also unlike most blends with the Thieves name, Young Living does not use Eucalyptus Globulus in their Thieves blend, the strongest of the Eucalyptus family, instead it uses a much milder Eucalyptus Radiata. It is also one of the last ingredients in the blend, as is Rosemary at the end. The first three ingredients are Clove, Lemon, and Cinnamon Bark.

During my first trimester I had a UTI (urinary tract infection). I then added Sovereign Silver for extra support under my tongue 1-2 times a day. Once my midwife tested my urine to tell me I was clear of the infection, I stopped using the silver. I always like to keep this supplement on hand, but only use it as needed for extra support.

For health maintenance and support during the UTI one more supplement I also used was a unique supplement called D'Mannose. I just followed the directions. It is completely safe throughout pregnancy, so after the UTI  was clear I opted to take the powder (much better than capsules) 1-2 times a week for the next few weeks. It's a special kind of sugar that acts like a magnet to the non-beneficial bacteria.

 I take a probiotic daily. I really like Young Living's Life 9 and Dr. Axe's SBO Formula.

It is imperative to keep a happy and healthy flowing eco-system in our gut and throughout our bodies with plenty of thriving beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are so helpful to restore what we lose. I make sure to also eat and drink plenty of fermented and cultured foods and beverages as well as raw fruits and vegetables to provide pre-biotic food to the bacterial strains in my body.

For extra digestive support I also make sure to utilize high quality digestive enzymes. I use and like the brands Enzymedica and Young Living Essentialzymes.

Many people get enzymes and probiotics confused or think they are the same, which is not so. Probiotics as described above are natural strains of bacteria just like the ones in our bodies. These beneficial strains get damaged or depleted through poor daily diet, stress, chlorine, flouride, over showering, aluminum, over the counter drugs, or prescription drugs. We need over one trillion strains of beneficial bacteria to have thriving health and wellness. They are key to good immunity.

Enzymes are important catalysts in the body. In fact every body system has enzymes except the digestive system. The reason for that is we were originally designed by our Creator to eat and thrive in the garden with raw food. Raw foods, being fruits and vegetables in the place of the garden, are the only foods with enzymes. Once we cook any food plant or animal higher than 118 degrees Fahrenheit, the enzymes die, therefore making the food much harder to digest. The digestive system needs those enzymes to work properly. We were so masterfully designed by Yeshua that our bodies are so smart and know how to compensate when something is out of order. So I like to describe it this way: Think of a full bank account that you keep borrowing from and do not replenish. What will happen to the account? The answer is the account will go bankrupt. The same goes for our bodies' enzyme stores. So when we eat cooked food that is enzyme deficient our bodies recognize it. Then what happens is the digestive system borrows some enzyme stores from another body system. After a while our enzyme stores become depleted and that leaves our body systems unable to work properly and can perpetuate illness. Taking digestive enzyme supplements with our cooked food allows for proper operation of the body. You can then also utilize those same enzymes in a therapeutic fashion about 2 hours away from our food on an empty stomach to replace what has been lost.

I am a big proponent for D3 supplementation. It is the famous vitamin that acts like a hormone in which most of us are deficient and so desperately need for over all body function. I really like this Garden of Life MYKind Organics D3 supplement. It is a vegan spray that tastes good, so the kids can take it too, and its  USDA organic without anything I do not recognize. The vegan source of D3 is lichen.  I spray it under my tongue.

The best source of D3 is of course the sun. I try to get some sun time without sunscreen whenever possible. Osteopathic doctor, health blogger, and speaker, Dr. Mercola says, over showering with soap can actually wash the D3 fatty cholesterol oil that forms on top of our skin when we are in the sun. He says it takes up to 48 hours for the D3 to absorb into our skin.

All the way until my last month here in pregnancy I took cod liver and butter liver oil. This is also a regular supplement for me. Cod liver oil is a wonderful source of support to brain, dental, and heart health. Truth, I prefer taking liquid because the amount you need to take in capsules is very high. Here is a bottle of the capsules though, same brand, Green Pasture Blue Ice, my younger son prefers the capsules. Here is another high quality brand of the liquid. During pregnancy the Weston A Price Foundation recommends a dose of high-vitamin cod liver oil per day to yield 20,000 IU of vitamin A, 2,000 IU of vitamin D, and 2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids (about 1 3/4 teaspoon per day). Take the amount you agree upon with your health practitioner. Note: I stopped taking it in this last month because cod liver oil can be known to thin out the blood and during childbirth there is already enough bleeding. I will resume right after the baby is born.

Magnesium is a crucial mineral for the body. Magnesium can only be found in plant foods. It is also one many people are deficient. Deficiency is usually due to a combination of not enough whole plant foods as well as digestive system issues preventing mineral absorption. I do eat a magnesium rich daily diet. During pregnancy though, again, baby tends to take quite a bit of the good stuff, so often we need to supplement. According to Dr. Mercola, magnesium is responsible for the creation of ATP (adensoine triphospate) the much needed energy enzyme, relaxation of blood vessels, muscle and nerve function, proper formation of bones and teeth, as well as the regulation of blood sugar and insulin. I regularly apply a topical magnesium chloride spray that I use before bed. Magnesium is absorbed well transdermally (through the skin).  I have also made a topical magnesium balm. The best way to know if you are deficient is through blood work. During my second trimester I experienced horrible restless leg syndrome, typical in pregnancy, which is a good indicator of magnesium deficiency. Constipation is another indicator that your body is low in this important mineral. My midwife suggested a magnesium supplement, so I added Natural Vitality Calm Magnesium Powder. The best time to take magnesium supplements is at night, since they relax the muscles.

Here are the last two supplements. I've not started using either one yet because it is not yet time.

The concluding supplements are evening primrose oil and homeopathic arnica montana. I'll be using these for the labor process. Evening primrose oil can in some women assist the cervix in softening as it acts like a prostaglandin, one of the hormones responsible for cervical dilation. I've personally decided to start using the capsules on Tuesday when I'll be 38 1/2 weeks along. According to the instruction of my midwife, one can start as early as 37 weeks. She advised taking two capsules, one orally and inserting one vaginally. I purchased mine at my local Whole Foods Market.

During the actual labor I will be using arnica montana homepathic pellets to help reduce pain and bruising during labor and after birth. Once baby is born I will do a write up on what I'm using and what baby is using.

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Brock, HHC

Health Disclaimer: No medical diagnoses, claims or promises of cures have been made. The information offered is simply for educational purposes. Any addition to diet or supplement routines should be discussed with your regular health professional.

There are affiliate links in this article. You are never required to shop through them. If you do though, I want to say thank you. If you like the information that I present, know that shopping through those links helps me to keep writing.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Supporting a Healthy Pregnancy (PT 3- What essential oils am I using?)

I have heard the question so many times, "Are essential oils safe during pregnancy?"...well that's a resounding YES, OF COURSE...If the essential oils are of the highest quality and if they are used properly. As a super healthy momma and IIN certified health coach, I will only use Young Living Essential Oils in my home. As I continue to study in the aromatherapy program I am in at East to West School of Aromatic Studies, I fall in love more and more with essential oils and especially the French method of application. I will expound more on essential oil basics in another article.

I've had so much fun using essential oils throughout the pregnancy. I truly wish I had them during my other pregnancies. One helpful resource that I've used is a book called Gentle Babies, by Master Herbalist, mother, and essential oil educator, Debra Raybern. It's a wonderful book for anyone considering having children, pregnant women, parents, grandparents, or daycare providers or nannies. It's also great for anyone with sensitive skin because who has more sensitive skin than a newborn? I've purchased several copies of Gentle Babies for friends as baby shower gifts along with a bottle of Young Living Lavender.

During the beginning of my pregnancy in the first trimester I stuck to neat topical use (neat means no carrier oil, just straight on skin) with frankincense, lavender, and copaiba.

Into my second trimester I chose to support my digestive system with peppermint and ginger essential oils. I rubbed ginger on my belly and I put a single drop of peppermint under my tongue. Peppermint has also been a favorite to support my muscular skeletal system. I've applied it on my lower back with copaiba and my feet. I continued on using the above mentioned oils as well.

At this point in my pregnancy (I'm 37 3/4 weeks now), starting a couple weeks back,  I've chosen to utilize the section in the book on healthy skin support for the perineum. What I've done is printed out a free calendar, and according to Debra's list as well as oils that I have on hand, I've plotted days for use along with amounts. I've found utilizing the calendar has been very helpful. I've chosen to use clary sage, geranium, lavender, and I added frankincense. In the last week fennel will be added. I took a glass 4oz jar, added a little bit of organic unrefined coconut oil, and then the right oils for that first day of the week in the jar, mixed them together and applied. Replenish in the jar each day.

I'm also using a wonderful Young Living Spray called Claraderm for the perineum area containing fractionated coconut oil, myrrh, tea tree, lavender, frankincense, Roman chamomile, and helichrysum essential oils. These oils have awesome constituents in them!!! Claraderm is an amazing blend! It would be a wonderful daily face or body mist too! Be sure to rub it in!

Also during my pregnancy my emotions have definitely needed some support. Diffusing and wearing certain oils topically have been such a blessing. My favorites are the blends White Angelica, Awaken, and the single frankincense. They all smell great and are very uplifting. I'm so thrilled that aromatherpy is supported by my birthing center where I'll be delivering. Best believe my Young Living diffuser is coming!

I made a momma balm with essential oils to go on my belly, breasts, and thighs. You can easily make one that is similar. Feel free to use the carrier oils of your choice. I used  1/4 cup beeswax, 1/4 cup organic unrefined coconut oil, 1/2 cup organic jojoba oil, 1 tsp calendula infused oil, 2 tbsp shea butter, as well as Young Living 10 drops geranium, 5 drops patchouli, 10 drops lavender, and 5 drops grapefruit essential oils.


Grab a small pot and a large Pyrex measuring cup. I have a 4 cup one that I use just for body care. This size is helpful for mixing. Fill the pot 1/4-1/3 of the way with tap water.

Place the measuring cup in the pot. Inside the measuring cup put the beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter. Melt these completely without the heat too high. Feel free to stir. I like using unused chopsticks to stir. They are inexpensive so I can discard them.

Take the measuring cup out of the pot, then place it on a trivet to cool. Feel free after a moment or two to then add the other ingredients.

Now because I'm impatient, I put the mixture into my fridge to solidify. Afterwards take it out and whip it with a hand mixer.

This recipe will fill 3-4 4oz jars. Anyone of course can use this balm, the essential oils would be excellent for anyone's skin.

 There is such a long list of non-approved oils during pregnancy on various websites, but what is interesting is Young Living has a much shorter and different list. Those long lists are due to essentials oils that are unpure. The reason is Young Living Essential Oils are different is due to the Seed to Seal Promise that guarantees unadulterated, properly distilled, beyond organic essential oils. Do not believe the hype, all essential oils are not the same. I think something to keep in mind was a conversation recently had at an essential oil 101 class that I instructed concerning essential oils and pregnancy, or really essential oils in any situation is to consider the desired support you'd like for your body at the time. Certain oils are more appropriate at different times. So when someone claims this oil is unsafe, it's really perspective a lot of the times, especially if someone is of the teaching of a varying method, like English. Knowledge is power, and incorrect knowledge is dangerous. It's more about the desired effect and support for your body at that time. Just always be sure you are again using essential oils of the highest quality, know less is always more, and do what makes you comfortable.

After baby arrives I will write an update on what oils I'm using on baby!

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Brock, HHC

Health Disclaimer: No medical diagnoses, claims or promises of cures have been made. The information offered is simply for educational purposes. Any addition to diet or supplement routines should be discussed with your regular health professional.

There are affiliate links in this article. You are never required to shop through them. If you do though, I want to say thank you. If you like the information that I present, know that shopping through those links helps me to keep writing.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Supporting a Healthy Pregnancy (PT 2- What am I drinking?)

Throughout pregnancy it is extremely important to stay hydrated. This can be difficult at times. Forming a routine with your liquids and figuring out how you will consume them can be really helpful. Water in-take is integral to our lives. During pregnancy we are more susceptible urinary tract infections, constipation, and hemorrhoids. Drinking enough water and natural fluids can drastically reduce our risk of dealing with those issues. I'll share in this article the drinks that have allowed me to stay supported. I'll be honest, most of my liquid consumption has not changed. I've just been extra diligent to increase it.

Warm Lemon Water: Each morning I start the day with a jar of room temperature to warm lemon water. This is a wonderful way to safely and naturally encourage the body's organs like the liver, gallbladder, and digestive system to operate as intended. I squeeze one whole organic lemon into my jar. As mentioned it is my first drink of the day. That is the only water I mix with lemon so not to over do a good thing. 

I try to drink 96 ounces of water daily. Pre-pregnancy my goal was 64oz. Different variables affect how much water one should consume: body weight, fitness/activity level, pregnancy, caffeine and sugar consumption, as well as being healthy or sick. Talk with your health professional about how much water your body needs.

Apple Cider Vinegar: If you do not have a bottle of Braggs Raw Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar then go our to grab one. Many grocery stores are carrying it now and without a doubt your local health food store will carry it. For the most economical buy, you can purchase it through Thrive Market. I recently wrote about the benefits here. I add a splash in one of my jars of water each day. 

Raw Organic Coconut Water: Have you tried coconut water? Harmless Harvest is my favorite brand. I like that it has not been heated so it has not lost any of it's nutrients. I like also that it's only sold refrigerated, so there are absolutely no preservatives. Did you know coconut water is full of natural electrolytes? When your kiddos are playing sports, this should be your go to drink, not Gatorade.  

Chia Seed Water: Some superfoods may come and go, but chia seeds are so beneficial that they are here to stay. They are rich in calcium, magnesium, fiber, and omega 3 fatty acids. They also contain some protein. When soaked in water they absorb the water and their texture reminds me of peeled grapes. I'll be honest, a little weird to get used to drinking. Chia seeds are so beneficial and worth it! I add 1 TBSP to my jar of water. For a delicious flavor I like to add one drop of Young Living Vitality Grapefruit Essential Oil.  

Kombucha: This amazing health promoting beverage actually can cause a lot of stir in the pregnant community. You will hear two point of views, stay away or drink every day. In case you aren't aware of what kombucha is altogether it is an organic black sweet tea that has been lacto-fermented with a special specific bacteria. The lacto refers to lactid acid, not dairy. I mention that because mant people ask if dairy is involved. Once the fermentation process takes place the bacteria has cultured the tea leaving you with an extremely low to no sugar and caffeine beverage with many beneficial pro-biotics. To learn more about making kombucha and it's benefits go here.

The major resistance is that in certain individuals kombucha can cause a detox reaction. While not pregnant, this would be a safe, natural occurrence. While pregnant we want to avoid detoxes, cleanses, and restrictive diets. During a detox toxins are released in the body and they could affect the baby. Another concern among some is possible alcohol content. When kombucha is fermented properly the alcohol content is minimal to none. 

Since my body is used to fermented foods and drinking kombucha, I make it weekly at home, I've felt very comfortable consuming it. If you have doubts or concerns, talk it over with your midwife, obstetrician, or nutritionist. Everyone is different and must consider their own body. 

Herbal Teas: First I must say how much I love tea! I was brought up drinking tea. Now my taste and choice in tea has certainly changed. Throughout my first, second, and now into my third trimester I've been enjoying different teas. Often in my first trimester my husband would make me ginger root tea. That consisted of him simply slicing and peeling a bit of organic ginger root and letting it steep in hot water.

Beginning in my second trimester I started drinking raspberry leaf and nettle leaf teas. Those herbs are very supportive to the uterus. Due to the stimulation of the uterus it is advised by herbal expert Susan Weed to use later on in pregnancy. Above in the picture is my favorite tea infuser by LibreTea. It is glass on the inside and plastic on the outside to prevent breakage along with a stainless steel filter. I used 1 tsp of raspberry leaf and 1 tsp of nettle leaf in my infuser. I like to drink them hot and cold.

 I much prefer loose tea leaves, but I always keep a good quality boxed tea around. I really like Traditional Medicinals. You can also get it here at Thrive Market. In the evenings I like to settle down with a blend of loose lemon balm leaves and lavender flowers.

Stay tuned for part 3 in the Pregnancy Support Series!

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Brock, HHC

Health Disclaimer: No medical diagnoses, claims or promises of cures have been made. The information offered is simply for educational purposes. Any addition to diet or supplement routines should be discussed with your regular health professional.

There are affiliate links in this article. You are never required to shop through them. If you do though, I want to say thank you. If you like the information that I present, know that shopping through those links helps me to keep writing.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Supporting a Healthy Pregnancy (PT 1-What am I eating?)

So for those of you who do not know yet, I'm actually in my thirty third week of pregnancy. This coming Friday I will be 34 weeks along in gestation. The above shot is a 4D ultra sound of Baby Brock at 28 weeks gestation. Wow, this pregnancy has been a wild ride! While we are ecstatically happy and excited, there have been lots of ups and downs. This little pumpkin is so loved already!

One question I've been asked repeatedly is since I'm going through this pregnancy naturally, living a holistically healthy lifestyle that is extremely different than the way I went through my other two pregnancies, what am I doing differently? How am I supporting my body systems and the baby? I will share all I've been doing in segments so the blog articles won't be too long. For this entry I'll start with foods that can be positive options and delicious. Your choices might look different than mine and that's perfectly fine.

What am I eating?

Truth be told, the time to start eating well is two years before pregnancy states Sally Fallon Morell, president of The Weston A. Price Foundation and author of The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care. Dad to be's diet matters just as much as Momma to be's as well. It's no surprise to those of us in this crazy, nutty, crunchy world of food that what is eaten daily is most definitely a different picture than of what a regular (SAD) Standard American Diet is composed. For anyone just beginning their health journey who is pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, I hope this article will assist you in making good supportive yummy choices. Do what's right for you.


 One food focus that is unanimous among most doctors allopathic and naturopathic and certified nutritionists that it is extremely important during pregnancy to consume enough protein. According to the American Pregnnacy Association, pregnant women need at least 75 grams of protein daily. Some sources say 100 grams. Confirm what is best for your body with your health professional. Protein is really important for baby's natural development. I notice I feel so much more energetic and less nauseous when I eat enough protein especially for breakfast not too long after I awaken.

Some of my favorite protein sources are farm fresh eggs from pastured chickens without soy in the feed, sheep yogurt, avocados, organic pastured turkey bacon, quinoa, organic ground turkey, wild salmon ( although I've not really had a taste for it as much during this pregnancy), wild mahi mahi, grass-fed cow hydrolyzed collagen in my smoothies, hemp seeds, raw soaked and dried nuts, sprouted organic rice and organic beans together, and buckwheat.

*For convenience when I just can't get out ingredients and bring myself to make anything, my husband keeps a few packs of Hilary Eats Well frozen veggie patties in our freezer. I LOVE to cook, but let's be honest, making the little human wears us out! These patties are truly awesome for 1) being a frozen food that is yummy and 2) for health value. These patties are gluten, soy, egg, dairy, rice, nut, and corn they kick the major allergens out of the park. They are even cooked in coconut oil, not a bad for you polyunsatured fat, which is typically the case in packaged foods. I just pop them in the toaster oven. They can be found at Whole Foods Markets and Earthfare Markets. I typically eat them on top of organic lettuce either in a bowl broken up to top a salad with avocado, or using the lettuce as a wrap. If these stores are not near you, you can order them here.

Folate, Fiber, and Magnesium

A second food focus has been folate, fiber, and magnesium. I grouped these together because of one reason: plants. Before pregnancy and during the first trimester, folate is a very important component of the daily diet especially for spinal development as well as promoting normal growth throughout the body.  Folate is found primarily in plants foods, although eggs do contain some. I opted not to take a pre-natal vitamin since my folate in-take was strong, and that's typically the main reason pre-natal vitamins are recommended. After a dietary assessment, my midwife was in agreement with this decision. You should do whatever makes you and your medical provider feel comfortable. I will talk more about supplements in another article.

Quinoa, if you can eat it, is an awesome multitasking food. I mentioned it up in the protein section, because it is a complete plant based protein. If you are vegetarian, I'm sure you have it in your pantry. Since it is a plant food, it is rich in fiber as well. It also contains calcium. I like the versatility of it. I have several articles on quinoa recipes. I like to replace pasta with it. See if you like this recipe below:

Italian Quinoa (Makes enough for a family of four)
2 Cups Uncooked Quinoa, (This will fill a semi-large pot when cooked up, and you will have some left over)
4 cups Filtered Water (for cooking quinoa)
2-3 Tbso Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil or Avocado Oil
10 Asparagus Spears, chopped
3 Handfuls Organic Baby Spinach
1/2 Large Sweet Onion, diced or sliced, whatever shape you prefer (or any onion you have at home)
1/2 Bag Frozen Organic Bell Peppers (maybe 2 cups or so)
1 28oz Jar Bionaturae Strained Tomato Sauce
1 Tsp Dried Organic Basil
1 Tsp Organic Garlic Powder
1/2 Tsp Himalayan Salt
As much organic fresh ground black pepper as you want


Put the quinoa and water in a semi-large pot. Put on high to bring to a boil, then turn down low, stir, and cover until cooked.

In a large skillet put the oil, onion, asparagus, and bell peppers. Saute until softened a bit, then add sauce, basil, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper on low. Finally add spinach. Stir a around and cover to simmer for about 5-8 minutes.

In bowls add a few scoops of quinoa, then top with vegetable sauce. Feel free to add organic Italian chicken sausage, chicken breast, a white wild fish, or even crumbled hard boiled eggs for extra protein if you'd like. Top with shredded Romano cheese, soft goat cheese, or nutritional yeast.

Fiber, only found in plant foods, contributes to our digestive health. Magnesium, a much needed daily mineral, which most people are deficient in, also can only be consumed through plant foods. Enjoying a very plant based food regimen is important to me. Plant based doesn't have to mean no animal foods. I define it as making sure a majority of what I eat is covered in a plethora of plant foods to ensure multiple nutrients. I try to cover half my plate in plant foods, or snack on plants through out the day. Sometimes a whole plate of food is too much, so I'll break it up. That's okay too. Just eat well for you.

Tip: At the beginning of each week I like to bake several organic sweet potatoes, I let them cool, and they get stored in the fridge or freezer. You can make a fast meal out a of a sweet potato with toppings or adding them to other dishes. Right in the toaster over it can go with some grass fed butter or organic unrefined coconut oil and Himalayan salt. The sweetness can also help curb the sugar monster.
An easy and tasty way to ensure folate, fiber, and magnesium intake is up is through green smoothies. I drink several a week. Smoothies create an all encompassing great, easy to make, quick meal. Adding half an avocado makes them so creamy smooth. I try to alternate my greens in my smoothies for maximum nutrients and not to overdue certain foods. I've taken advantage of pre-cut/washed leafy greens like kale and spinach. A little work taken out of the prep-time for food makes a big difference when  your body is again making a little human, which tends to make us Mommas sleepy. I always do a quick swish in some filtered water and Thieves Fruit & Veggie Soak just to be sure though. You can purchase that wonderful, safe, pre-made veggie soak here for 24% off.

 I've liked making jar salads too. This is an easy way to take food on the go. Jar salads are fun to put together and you can include a variety of foods in the jar. I always try to include fermented veggies in my salads or on the side of my plate. They support my digestive and immune systems, add a unique flavor, and provide that folate, fiber, and magnesium! What a food multi-tasking bargain!

Organic frozen fruits and veggies in your freezer makes meal time much more pleasant during pregnancy as well. Do not feel bad about this either. Get the foods in your body that you need, the best way for you. you can make healthy meals this way. Keep it organic, since conventional frozen foods, even plain veggies and fruit tend to have unnecessary additives on top of that pesticide load that is bad for you and baby. While I will agree fresh is best not sitting in a plastic bag, at least heat is not involved.

During this pregnancy sleep has been a delicacy. I wake just about nightly and usually hungry. My husband makes sure we always have a bag of organic frozen dark cherries from Costco. Cherries are not too hard when frozen so they won't harm tooth enamel when chewing and they are a super natural source of magnesium, a mineral you need when trying to get back to sleep. Magnesium can promote good rest.

Never ignore true hunger when pregnant. Although the eating for two scenario has been confirmed to be a myth, you do need to eat some more. Listen to your body, even those cravings. Now if the cravings are not for normal, healthy choices, consider talking to your health professional for better options. My cravings during this pregnancy have been refried beans (these can be made in a very healthy way at home), blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, and cantaloupe.


My third focus are lots of healthy fats. Our brains and even more so babies brains need them for safe and healthy development. My favorite fats are avocados, organic unrefined coconut oil, 100% grass-fed butter, raw goat cheese, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, organic raw nut butters, and some organic red palm oil. I try to eat an avocado everyday. Eating enough healthy fat can help with unhealthy sugar cravings. High quality farm fresh eggs from pastured chickens actually are a dual food in offering not just significant protein, but healthy cholesterol, another term for fat. I've eaten eggs practically everyday in the second and third trimesters. Even though during most of my first trimester I couldn't even hear someone say the word egg. Don't hormones make our bodies do funny things?

A favorite snack of mine are sliced organic granny smith apples and raw almond butter. I also like almond butter on organic ribs of celery.

Did you know fats are good for the digestive system too? Many days a week I take some organic unrefined coconut oil on a spoon. I was vigilant about this in my early first trimester when I was constipated for almost one whole month (which by the way I've NEVER been in my life...just awful). Sometimes I'd mix it with my boiled organic prunes (never want to see a prune again, just saying). Healthy fat can encourage movement in the intestines as well as coconut oil specifically can assist in maintenance with beneficial gut flora, which I need.

Hope you enjoyed seeing what I've been eating to support my body. This list didn't cover everything of course. Are you pregnant? What have you been eating? Have you had any cravings? Reply in the comment box. I'd love to hear from you!

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Brock, HHC

Health Disclaimer: No medical diagnoses, claims or promises of cures have been made. The information offered is simply for educational purposes. Any addition to diet or supplement routines should be discussed with your regular health professional.

There are affiliate links in this article. You are never required to shop through them. If you do though, I want to say thank you. If you like the information that I present, know that shopping through those links helps me to keep writing.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

8 Things Healthy Families Use

I'm a mom and I'm all about keeping things simple and natural. Are you the same way? I have a lot to get completed throughout the course of a day and I'll take as much support as I can get. I don't like depending on unnatural chemicals daily. I'd rather use items from nature for self-care, cleaning, and eating. I find nature does our family best!

Here are 8 things as a concerned Momma and certified health coach that I would say are the bare minimum for a physically healthy home after real whole foods. There are several other things I like to keep around as well, but this is a great start!

8 Things:

Raw Organic Honey: Kick out the refined sugars and artificial sweeteners, they just feed cancer. Instead use real, organic, raw honey. You always want your honey to be in its natural raw state because then it contains nutritional values and anti-bacterial properties. Avoid heating your honey to keep nutrients in tact. To support skin health you add raw honey to minor cuts and scrapes as well as using it for a facial mask once a week. 

Fresh Garlic: This is truly nature's antibiotic. It also happens to taste really yummy in foods. It is inexpensive and great to keep around all year. You can easily grow it as well. Try to make sure sure you purchase local garlic or at least from inside the USA. A lot of garlic is from China in the grocery store, and the agricultural practices there are not the same as ours here in the USA. Keep in mind heating it does destroy it's antibiotic properties. It's still a worthy add to cooked meals though for a flavorful plate. 

Fresh Raw Ginger: This root is such a treasure. Ginger is a natural over all body anti-inflammatory food. It's a spicy delicious addition to smoothies, baked goods, soups, and stir fries. It provides wonderful digestive system support. It's a safe tummy tamer for pregnant women. 

During my pregnancies I love to make fresh ginger root tea. I actually enjoy this all of the time. Use about 1 1/2 inches of ginger, peel it, and slice it. Add it to a mug of hot boiled filtered water. Cover the top and steep for about ten minutes. I prefer mine without a sweetener. You can add a little raw honey or organic stevia drops. 

Fresh Organic Lemons (Lemon Water): What a joy it is to slice into a fresh lemon! When you slice into a lemon, that delightful smell is actually a tiny bit of the natural essential oil escaping. Did you know citrus scents help enhance good mood? Be sure to purchase organic citrus fruits if possible. Even though we do not typically eat the peel, whatever we touch and our children for that matter touch goes into our skin and is absorbed. Conventional citrus fruits are coated in toxins and some are even grown in toxic waste. No amount of washing will remove it. Even if you use vinegar. 

I like to drink lemon water first thing each morning. This is a great way to prepare the body for your day by hydrating and getting enzymes flowing. I drink 32oz of room temperature water when I wake with one fresh squeezed lemon added plus 1 drop of Young Living Lemon Vitality. Yes, you can over due it with lemons just like anything else. Healthy foods consumed in moderation then stay healthy. Benefits to drinking lemon water are natural support to your liver, digestive system, and immune system. 

Essential Oils: In our home due to purity and the highest of standards, we only use Young Living Essential Oils. Essential oils can help support the body, mind, and spirit as well as make a lovely addition to your natural cleaning regimen. Essential oils are the heart and soul of the plants, basically the plants' immune systems. They are aromatic oils that disperse into the air in tiny molecules quickly and they can come from various parts of different plants. You can get your's here

Good Salt: Have you bought into the lie that salt is bad for you? Salt is actually a necessary component to our lives. It purifies our bodies as well as adding many needed minerals. The difference is knowing the salts to stay away from and the salt to consume. Regular table salt has been bleached and all of the minerals have been stripped from it and sold to supplement companies. Some salts even add MSG, sugar, and aluminum. The iodine added is not natural iodine either. Table salt is very hard on all of the body systems. 

The best salts to purchase are Celtic (real Celtic salt is a little wet and greyish in color), an actual brand called Redmond Real Salt (shown in the picture), and Himalayan salt (this is pink in color). You can purchase all of these in whole rock like forms, little mini rocks, or finely ground. I like to add a pinch to my water throughout the day to ensure I'm getting necessary minerals. No, it cannot be tasted. Most filtered water takes out a lot of our necessary minerals along with  the toxins so adding a pinch of salt helps replace the good stuff. 

You can even make something called Sole. This is basically a concentrated salt water. You can make this simply by getting the good salt of your choice, a glass jar, like a clean mason jar, and filling it 1/3 of way with the salt. Fill it to the top with water. Leave a little room. Shake it. Let it sit for about 8-12 hours. Add this to your warm or room temperature lemon water or plain room temp water first thing in the morning. You can use a plastic measuring teaspoon or a glass dropper to add 1 tsp to your water to help start your day off well will lots of minerals. One tsp should be all you need. Your naturopathic doctor or holistic health practitioner can tell you exactly.

Remember I mentioned salt purifies. If your throat is feeling scratchy, add 2 tsp to a glass of water and gargle to support your body.

Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil: It was a great day when I brought coconut oil into my life. I believe this was one of the first food and body care switches that I ever made. Organic unrefined coconut oil is comprised of three antimicrobial medium chain saturated fatty acids: capric, caprylic, and monolauric. The monolauric acid is very supportive to the immune system. This type of fat is great for brain support. I do so many things with this oil. I bake and cook with it, use it in my homemade skin care products, as well as my homemade toothpaste. I also oil pull with it; click on the link if you don't know what that means.. 

It has a heat tolerance of 350, which makes it lovely to bake with since most recipes bake at 350. Cooking eggs in it is my favorite. Never heat it in the microwave. The waves will damage it's integrity. Depending on weather it will go from solid to liquid. When you need it liquid, put some into a glass measuring cup, close to what you need. Always put it a bit under the marker on the cup because once it melts it will most likely be right on the money. Put the measuring cup into a small pot with a little water. Boil on the stove until the oil melts. 

Raw Unpasteurized Apple Cider Vinegar: I add a splash of this each day to a glass of my water as well. There are numerous benefits to the body in consuming raw unpasteurized ACV. It absolutely must be raw and unpasteurized containing the what is called mother. Real ACV is made through a lengthy fermentation process. The mother is the brown healthy strands of amino acids. This vinegar is particularly supportive to the digestive and immune systems. You can use it with food and drinks and you can clean with it. Another use is for body care as a facial toner or it can be a support to the scalp if there is flakes or dandruff. When anyone in our family even looks like they are getting under the weather for natural support I make this tonic that contains:

1 Tbsp ACV ( I like this one.) 
1/8 Tsp Ground Organic Cayenne Pepper (Try this brand.) 
1 Fresh Garlic Clove, sliced
1 Inch Ginger Root, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp Raw Honey ( Local is best, but if you can't find any, I like this kind.)
1 Mug Hot Boiled Filtered Water

Add everything to the mug EXCEPT for the honey. Cover and let it steep for about 10 minutes. When it's time to drink, add the honey. 

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!~Marie A. Brock, HHC

Health Disclaimer: No medical diagnoses, claims or promises of cures have been made. The information offered is simply for educational purposes. Any addition to diet or supplement routines should be discussed with your regular health professional.

There are affiliate links in this article. You are never required to shop through them. If you do though, I want to say thank you. If you like the information that I present, know that shopping through those links helps me to keep writing.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Your Teen

I have two teen sons in the house, and it is an adventure. I actually began reading another bloggers article about 5 ways to spend time with or connect with your teenager, but after about her third tip I started to drift and all of these thoughts about healthy teen and parent relationships starting pouring out of my head. Lucky for you I caught them…haha, or at least I hope that this blesses anyone with teens or anyone who deals with that age group on a regular basis. Strong home and family relationships are an extremely important part of your own health and wellness. Creating as much balance as you can at home will help you to be a healthier individual. Keep in mind always that you are only responsible for your own actions and words. So MOM, don’t beat yourself up if that teen won’t meet you even half way, it happens.

My teens are pretty sweet guys most of the time, and homeschooling them is a bonus. Connecting with them can still be a challenge at times. Although even with our homeschool, I feel like our days are rushed and go by so quickly. I have to fight through the battle of the almighty check list. I really love finding ways to be with each of them on an individual basis; I find it is vital. Each is growing to be a young man with his own thoughts, ideas, and dreams. One on one time creates an atmosphere for me to figure out what is inside that head and heart.

 As they grow I really want to choose to respect how to communicate with each one the best way he receives it. Each one has different learning styles and love languages. I really try to speak with them the way I'd like to be spoken to as well as taking into consideration their personality type, so he receives it. As men, I realize they were created differently. Most tend to be more linear, left brained, and less likely to communicate verbally. I don't find that is an excuse to not find ways to help them communicate better though. I refuse to believe that men cannot or will not talk or execute their thoughts effectively. Knowing that one day may come when my guys may have wives of their own really drives this point home for me. For them, and each one’s future wife, I must facilitate healthy communication. One of mine is actually more right brained, so he's quite the talker. This can be fun and sometimes not since his extreme intelligence can get the best of him and often have him towing the line of disrespect. I am often reeling him in from the line before he sinks his ship.

Since these two were young I've attempted to ask both guys questions with various answers they can choose from so as to get mental juices flowing, like multiple choice. My hope is to train their brains to think freely through options and be able to truly visualize them as they come into adulthood. I like to ask them reflective questions as well especially if we are dealing with a discipline issue. It is necessary that they understand that their choices affect others. Making them stand in the other people's shoes around them allows them to be sensitive to the fact that the world doesn't revolve around them. This sometimes is even better achieved in a completely unrelated scene of events away from the scene of said crime. Connections are made better sometimes when emotions are light and the brain can think more clearly. I work hard not to miss those moments.

I really try to remember to lift them up during a session of discipline as well. I say discipline session because it really is a session or life lesson for all of us. Love cannot be absent here. This is especially important knowing timing of how I lift each one up as well. By lifting up I mean ensuring my love, perhaps I mention things that I've noticed that have gone well or right lately, and best efforts. I also make sure to end that lifting up with prayer. The Lord Yeshua is the softener of hearts, and during discipline sessions, hearts may be hard. Each guy needs it at different times as well. My oldest needs to be lifted up at the end of our conversation otherwise he only remembers his faults and turns into Eyeore from Winnie the Pooh. My youngest needs to be lifted up before the actual "getting down to it all" begins otherwise he is instantly on the offense and feels attacked.

The acknowledgement of feelings and his "why" behind the situation being handled the way that it was by that person even if it was done really poorly is key. Acknowledging this validates him as a person. This is not placating or beating around the bush or pandering. I want to extinguish that young man’s need to be on the offense as much as possible and make it a safe place for him to discuss the situation with me. A huge goal of mine is to effectively allow each one to be heard, if his brother is involved. Often to achieve this I ask straight off the top for him to calmly tell me what happened in your words. Make sure another person is not in ear shot, especially that other person involved, or other siblings that may be nosey and feel the need to give his or her two cents. I want to hear every emotion and thought in order to make correction properly. I acknowledge where he was emotionally at the time, usually by saying something like, "Oh I see, so you probably felt really....(insert emotion)." The one I'm speaking to usually knows where he went wrong, but sometimes he truly does not. Do not assume your teen knows or realizes where he messed up. Give them credit where credit is due of course, and use wisdom if manipulation is taking place, while realizing that he really may not get it. Ask him if he knows where better choices could’ve been made. If he cannot tell you, then do not get mad or tell him he's lying, just explain it. If you explain it, then there's no room for excuses or the famous, "I didn't know song next time" that my oldest LOVES to sing (he's not really singing there, I'm being a bit facetious, but see...I know my kid.)

At the end of the day we are raising adults, men and women, not boys and girls. Making sure to make that fact known to them, how loved they are first by the Lord, and then by us each and every single day. Let them know where their worth comes from (God) and that no matter what they do, their faults and sins cannot diminish their worth because it didn’t come from them in the first place. They were chosen to come into creation as Holy masterpieces of the Most High God. Reinforce this daily. This world in which they live is so transient and constantly messing with their identity.

Love and grace!

Helping you to be a good steward of your health!

Marie A. Brock, HHC