Cleansing and Toxins

One topic that has always interested me is¬†cleansing. ¬†If I had an irrational fear (if…haha)¬†it would be of toxins.¬† Many years ago when I started learning about how ubiquitous toxins are to our modern world it literally made me nearly sick with anxiety. I’m a person of faith so I don’t really fear death, per se, but living a subpar life.¬† My lifeforce (or whatever you want to call it) dulled and blunted by toxins.

There is many benefits to living in modern society.  But with that comes a price.  Sitting behind a big diesel truck in traffic.  Flame retardants on our mattresses.  Cancer causing chemicals sprayed onto our foods.  We can do a lot to minimize our exposure to toxins, but what about the toxins that have built up in our systems over the years?

Here in the Midwest, I have always lived within a stones throw of a field.¬† Seems innocuous until you realize that the only fields around here are GMO corn and soy that is drenched in chemical fertilizers and ultra-toxic roundup.¬† That of course works it’s way into the drinking water.¬† It’s in the air we breathe.

I also grew up eating a lot of canned foods (hello aluminum!).  We thought canned soup was healthy.   We had no idea of the dangers of microwaving food in plastic.  Diet coke was the healthy option.

See the source imageYeah, yeah, so we are all ridden with toxins.¬† Now what?¬† That’s where the cleanse comes in.¬† I know the word “cleanse” comes with some baggage.¬† In my research I’ve found that a lot of people doing youtube videos and writing articles on the subject tend to range from kooky to snake oil-y.¬† Or maybe you think of cleansing as a violent, run to the bathroom process….

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I couldn’t not include this GIF, you’re welcome

It definitely shouldn’t be that.¬† It shouldn’t be expensive.¬† It can be as easy as fasting for a day and drinking bergamot tea.¬† I also have used¬†this¬†simple 3 day cleanse a couple times and really liked it.¬† I found it at Wal-Mart for around $6.¬† I’ve also taking¬†red clover¬†supplement, and sorry, TMI; but it gave my a weird rash across my abdomen.¬† I wasn’t sure if it was a reaction or what.¬† The next day I just happened to hear about rashes being a common byproduct as your body is detoxing.¬† Everything gets stirred up and you can get some weird symptoms.¬† A couple days later I had taken it again and had done a workout.¬† The rash came back with little white dots of which I can only describe as crystalline.¬† It scrapped away.¬† Of course I have no proof, but I believe I was literally sweating out toxins.

I am going to embark on a more in depth cleanse, using¬†this renew life cleanse¬†(it’s a lot cheaper on amazon).¬† I plan to combine it with a form of water fasting.¬† At least maybe as much as I feel I can handle.¬† I like to do my fasting with tea as well because it accelerates¬†autophagy¬†which is huge in detoxing out junk down to the cellular level.¬† You don’t have to buy any fancy, expensive teas.¬† Any bergamot tea will do.¬† I also like spicy chai tea because the cinnamon and other spices are very anti-inflammatory and healing.¬† Plus it tastes amazing!¬† I feel like fasting is so much easier when you can combine it with hot teas.

The idea behind a cleanse is that you want to feel better when it’s done.¬† Lighter, more energetic.¬† Your brain may be sharper.¬† Your skin clearer.¬† You always want to listen to your body.¬† If you start feeling really terrible you may be stirring up more toxins then you can safely process.¬† You may want to back off a bit or opt for a more gentle “Daniel Fast” approach- incorporating fresh (preferably organic!) fruits and vegetables.

You can also greatly aid in the process by supporting your lymph system through rebounding (jumping) and dry brushing.¬† If you’re doing any sort of cleanse/fast you want to stay away from vigorous exercise.¬† This is about healing so you want to avoid eternal stresses.¬† Even good ones like exercise.

Don’t be like me and stress out about it.¬† The far better option is to find ways to naturally support your bodies ability to detoxify and heal itself.¬† You can mini-cleanses once a month and a more in depth cleanse once or twice a year.

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Birthday Cakes and Icy Lakes

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday. I went on a roadtrip to visit my mom’s side of the family for a reunion in Wisconsin.

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*Pretending to do lakeside Yoga*

My husband gifted me some pretty sweet bowflex select tech dumbells.  He knows the way to my heart!!

It was fun and included an iced dark chocolate mocha, french fries and an ice cream sundae. #noregrets

But today is going to be a fasting day.¬† I just got done watching most of the “Skinny on Fat” series and¬†Supercharged¬†the movie.¬† The series really should have been more condensed.¬† Each episode was over 2 hours long and there was a lot of repetition.¬† The Supercharged movie was pretty cheesy (low carb!) but had some good info.¬† But again, mostly just more of what I already know I¬†should be doing. ¬†

I say “should be” because the two things that stick out to me are two things that most human beings are pretty resistant towards- fasting and purposeful cold exposure.¬† #notfun¬† But if you want to get the best results, as far as being healthy, lean, and staying young- you have to embrace some discomfort.

One thing that sticks out to me is that now science is backing up practices that people have been embracing for health reasons for eons.¬† Fasting as a religious practice has basically always been practiced.¬† When I read about other people’s struggles to get into ketosis, it taking days and being very uncomfortable, I was surprised.¬† I got into ketosis the first day and it really wasn’t a difficult process.¬† Now I chalk that up to the fasting I’ve done over the years for spiritual purposes.¬† If you go extended lengths abstaining from food you¬†will¬†go into ketosis even if you don’t mean to or have any idea what that means.¬† At that point you have more fat-burning flexibility.¬† Your body is much more adept at transitioning.¬† Fasting has been embraced as a powerful spiritual tool throughout human history but now we can appreciate the truly amazing¬†benefits .¬† Fasting is probably the closest thing to the fountain of youth that we currently understand.

Up here in Minnesota we have what’s known as the “Polar Plunge”; where people will cut a hole in the ice (on a lake, of course) and jump into the freezing cold water.¬† I used to live by a dentist who swore by this and would jump into our icy lake often.¬† I thought these people were nuts.¬† Nuts, maybe, but now we know the amazing health-promoting¬† properties of exposing your body to intense cold for brief periods.¬† It’s even better if you can alternate hot and cold.¬† Like they do in Scandinavian countries- go from the sauna to the ice.¬† If you don’t have access to a frozen lake you can always mimic this in the much less cool (but still effective) basic ice bath.¬† Or even just cold water bath.¬† I think there’s one in my future that I am currently psyching myself up for.

Why go through all of this?¬† Well, I am 32 and I want to get better and feel better with age.¬† I spent a lot of my 20’s feeling horrible and I have a lot of life I want to live.¬† Oh, and I also want to look great while doing it. ūüėČ

So here is to living life.  Enjoying sundaes and fundays but also getting out of your comfort zone to tap into powerful, ancient health-rejuvenating powerhouses!!

Growing Kids and Lectins

Having your kids on a keto plan means that you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen.¬† A lot.¬† Cooking, baking, cleaning, oh my!

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Michael, with his 2nd keto brownie 

My plight is perhaps even worse because of the fact that my oldest child is growing like an inch a week and always hungry.¬† He’s only 13 and he is almost 5’9″!

They’ve been getting sick of eggs in all their different forms. so I’ve been making a lot of chocolate shakes for breakfast.¬† I just blend up half and half with peanut butter, raw cocoa powder and my monk fruit sweetener blend.¬† They really like the shakes and get a gazillion calories to fuel their weed-like growth.

We agreed that Friday would be a “cheat” day were they could eat whatever.¬† I figure it’s a good bribe to keep everyone happy and they are still getting the benefits of ketosis while getting a good dose of carbs once a week.

My daughter spent the weekend with my mom.¬† I wasn’t about to try to make her follow the keto plan at grandma’s house so Shiloh had a weekend full of fun and gluten.¬† I just got her back this evening and…wow.¬† What a difference.¬† She’s burst into tears no less than 10 times.¬† I had to take her to the grocery store and it was like trying to herd a stray cat through a maze of frenzied shoppers.¬† I guess it really serves as confirmation that at the¬†very least¬†she is benefiting greatly from a gluten free diet.¬† On the keto plan I have seen her become¬†way¬†more calm and focused.

I’ve been watching Naomi Whittel’s¬†documentary series on the ketogenic diet.¬† One really interesting thing that I’ve learned is that mankind actually shrunk a foot when they transitioned from a hunter/gatherer lifestyle (think paleo) to and agricultural one.¬† One reason is, many of the grains we consume today are high in lectins– effectively an anti-nutrient produced by plants as a defense against getting eaten.¬† It’s the reason that if you eat beans that aren’t fully cooked you can get very ill.¬† The lectins are tearing up your gut.¬† They cause the gas, bloating, lethargy and poor absorption of nutrients that many people just live with.¬† The two main ingredients that make up the bulk of processed foods- wheat and soy (which are also mostly GMO) also happen to be the highest in lectins.¬† I’ve noticed going keto has really improved my digestion.¬† So when I occasionally eat a treat that is¬†definitely¬†not keto or healthy, it doesn’t affect me nearly as much as it used to.¬† I suppose my gut is healing on this much less inflammatory diet.¬† Since gut and brain are intimately¬†connected; it makes sense that a flexible keto approach to eating would be a wise choice for growing kids.

 

Keto Kids

We started Keto as a family last Thursday so today would be day 6 of our “keto adventure”.¬† Well for everyone except my husband who is still sneaking foods like triscuits and heavily sweetened “coffee”. *eyeroll*

So, what have I noticed, other than a lot of complaining?

It’s hard to tell for sure but two instances stand out.¬† My daughter and I were shopping at Target yesterday.¬† Not a get in an out kind of trip, more like “I need to get of the d@mn house before I lose my mind” kind of trip.¬† Lots of meandering.¬† Midway through I glanced down at my daughter, Shiloh, with the sudden realization that she was being good.¬† Very good.¬† She quietly and calmly walked right next to my side¬†through the entire store.¬†¬†

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My Little Capuchin!

Then I remembered how eerily well behaved she was yesterday when we took my MIL to a huge antique store.¬† We were nervous bringing her into a cramped place jam packed with breakable items.¬† But she was borderline angelic the entire time.¬† Which, yes, is a huge improvement from her norm.¬† Running off, grabbing stuff, tantrums… oh my.¬†¬†In my opinion, it’s still to early to tell.¬† The real test will come when they go back to school.¬†¬†20180718_0809016013263692184364662.jpg

I did pick up some keto test strips yesterday for the first time.  I tested my daughter this morning and she is definitely in ketosis.  The reading was very high, which I attribute to the fact that she was in a fasting state after having just woke up.

I don’t know if I’ve noticed an improvement in either of my two sons though.¬† My middle child, Gabe, is my little sugar baby and has been¬†very¬†vocal and cranky about the diet.¬† He’s always loved his carbs though.¬† That kid could live off of bread alone.

 

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He’s SO dramatic, I have no clue where he gets it from…

If I don’t see any benefits for my two boys, of course I won’t make them stick with the diet.¬† It is, however, a great way to reboot and kick sugar addiction.¬† Even if I ease up I think it will be much easier to limit sugar and junk because they will have so completely changed their eating habits.

 

 

 

 

Simple Perfumery

I finally did it.

I created an instagram account.¬† I know, like 6 years late to the party.¬† For a blogger I am a bit (LOT!) of a technophobe.¬† But I really like photography so I figured I might as well get on with it.¬† Feel free to follow me and watch me try to figure it out ūüėȬ†sierraroseschwartz

This morning I am whipping up some easy, DIY perfume.

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I love smelling good but I am very allergic to perfumes and colognes.¬† I’ve tried and I end up with a headache.¬† I won’t go into it too much but virtually all the scents you buy commercially are¬†toxic and bad for your health.¬† Thankfully it is super easy, much cheaper and healthier to make your own!

When I first started a couple years ago I read up on it and tried to do it “right” with heart notes, base notes, balance, etc.¬† But I realized for me, it isn’t really necessary.¬† I just do scents or combo of scents, that I really love.¬† For winter I was doing a heavier scent with frankincense, myrrh, cedarwood and vanilla.¬† For summer I am making a lighter scent using “Blues Buster” oil blend from Plant Therapy.¬† It’s a fruity, floral blend with tangerine, grapefruit and geranium bourbon.¬† It smells ah-mazing!¬† Light, fresh, heady and intense all at the same time.

My perfume is as simple as combing this oil blend with vodka.  Vodka because it is almost odorless and gives the scent staying power.  Because it is also a natural disinfectant you can use this natural perfume as deodorant.  I even spray it onto my hair as a natural, wonderful-smelling hair spray.

I bought my perfume atomizer bottle on amazon for around $12.  It came with a tiny funnel to make filling easier.  First I add my vodka (everclear would work too) and then about 20 drops of essential oil.  You can do more or less for a stronger aroma.

You are “supposed” to allow the the scent to rest for a few weeks before using, but what fun is that???¬† I use mine right away!¬† ūüėõ

Chilly Keto ColdBrew Mocha

Guys, I was doing a flex-keto approach and doing high and low carb days along with some intermittent fasting.  Which worked well for awhile until I found myself eating TWO big ole gluten free smores last weekend and then realizing I had gained, or was well on my way, to gaining back all the weight I had initially lost.  *sad face*

So I did what I usually do to atone for too many dietary sins.¬† I started tracking¬†every single gram of carb¬†with my fitness pal.¬† It’s still amazing to me that calories don’t really matter.¬† 1,500 calories with over 100 grams of carbs will have me gaining weight while 1,800 with less than 30 grams of carbs will have my body fat quickly dwindling away.¬† This may not hold true for all but I know it certainly is for me.

20180603_0941431091780791.jpgI’ve said it before but I’ll say it again- one of the best things about keto is the fact that you can still have creamy, delicious treats.¬† Like this cold brew based coffee drink I am sipping right now.¬†If you’ve read the blog for awhile you’ve probably figured out that I am a bit obsessed with both coffee and chocolate.¬† So I love finding new, low-carb ways to combine them.

I picked up some starbucks brand cold brew at target.¬† If you get some, make sure it is unsweetened.¬† Most kinds come pre-sweetened.¬† Definitely don’t want that!

I blended about a cup of cold brew with half and half (food of the gods!), cocoa powder and my monk fruit sweetener to get this delicious, frosty treat.¬† You can also add ice to make it more frappuccino-esque.¬† I think for future versions, I’ll have some coffee ice cubes on hand to add in.¬†¬†20180603_093440940081504.jpg

Keto ColdBrew Mocha

  • 1 Cup Cold Brew Coffee
  • 1/2 Cup Half and Half ( you can sub in filtered milk, almond milk, or heavy cream)
  • 1 tbs. Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tbs. Natural Sweetener (such as stevia, monk fruit, or¬†erythritol)

Combine ingredients in magic bullet style blender and enjoy!  This refreshing treat is sure to put some pep in your step at 182 calories, 8.7 grams of carb (about 6 net carbs), 14.5 grams of fat and 4.6 grams of protein.

 

Keto Family

I posted awhile back about wanting to try the keto diet for the whole family.  20180524_181823894515596.jpg

Reasons being, I now technically have three special needs kids.  One with severe eczema/TSW, one with aspergers, and my youngest now with autism and/or ADHD.  All three struggle with anxiety to some extant.

One unexpected perk I experienced going keto was a drastic reduction in my own anxiety, along with an increase in mental clarity and focus.

They are all three very thin so this would technically be a therapeutic approach and I’d have to monitor their weight to make sure they weren’t dropping any.¬† It’d be wonderful if we were able to avoid perscription drugs for my youngest, and get my oldest¬†off¬†of his.¬† I really believe in the therapeutic value of ketones for brain health.¬†¬†keto for ADHD

Either way, it can’t hurt to cut out refined sugars and empty calories.

We’ve been slooowly easing in by having keto-style dinners.¬† Thankfully, my kids generally like veggies and meat.¬† I decided, for the sake of my sanity, to wait until school was out before going full-bore.

A high fat diet is great for¬†¬†developing brains.¬† Not to mention fresh veggies and good protein.¬† Admittedly, it’s probably going to be a tough transition so we’re just doing a trial period to see if the potential benefits are worth it.

There’s one week of school so I have time to start meal planning.¬† I’ll post as we go!

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