Tag Archives: Health

9 Easy Ways to Support Liver Health

Your liver is responsible for filtering every drop of blood that comes from the digestive tract, and then it metabolizes and eliminates the toxins and chemicals that it encounters. It’s also responsible for secreting bile, an aid in the digestive process.

A sluggish liver that’s not operating optimally will affect the health of your whole body. The toxins the liver usually removes can stay in the body, causing damage and making you feel unwell. Thankfully, there are several simple things you can do that can have a positive impact on your liver!
9 Easy Ways to Support Liver Health from Beeyoutiful.com1. Eat liver-happy foods. These include garlic, leafy greens, grapefruit, green tea, and grains, along with apples and avocados. These foods are known to help support and nourish the liver, while not overburdening it.

2. When your liver needs a little love, avoid processed foods, alcohol, and foods high in sodium and sugar.

3. Stay hydrated. Drinking the right amount of liquids helps the body to flush toxins out of the liver and increase optimum health.

4. Do gentle liver-stimulating exercises. One simple exercise you can do is to sit crosslegged on the floor with your back straight. Simply turn slightly to the right and then to the left. This helps stimulate and increase blood flow to the area without putting undue strain on the body. Start with 10 repetitions, then gradually increase to 100 per day. Moderate exercise also can be beneficial as it helps to decrease insulin resistance and fatty deposits in the liver.

5. Avoid unnecessary medications. Ask your doctor which of your medications are metabolized through your liver and if there are alternatives you could use instead. Replacing some popular pain reducers with alternatives such as Arnica Homeopathics can decrease the burden on your liver.

6. Love your gut. Some studies have shown that liver health is directly impacted by gut health and poor gut flora. Using fermented foods or a daily probiotic can help to both increase and diversify the population of gut flora.

7. Sip some tea. Several herbs have historically been used to help support the liver. Dandelion, Turmeric, Peppermint, Milk Thistle, Barberry, and Rosemary are the most well known.

8. Use spices and herbs in cooking. Garlic, Turmeric, Rosemary, Oregano, and Thyme are encouraging to the liver and can be used regularly in cooking to provide ongoing support.

9. Take your liver-happy supplements. Silymarin Liver Support, Digestive Enzymes and Digest Best, Red Raspberry Leaf, and Vitamin C (Gentle C, Rosehip C, and ChewC) can all contribute to the liver’s wellbeing.

Dig deeper! Learn about choosing probioticsimproving gut health, and creating herbal tea blends and brewing tea

shop Beeyoutiful.com

How I Nearly Missed a Key to Nutrient Absorption

How I Nearly Missed a Key to Nutrient Absorption from Beeyoutiful.com

This information originally appeared in a slightly different form in our Fall 2009 catalog

Busy schedules and a desire for convenience had taken a toll on my family’s diet, but not long ago, I decided to get us back on the wagon of nutritious eating. While eating whole and healthy foods has always been my focus, we had gotten so we didn’t take time to prepare fresh, nutritious foods.

How I Nearly Missed a Key to Nutrient Absorption from Beeyoutiful.comOur family garden and the weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) basket gave us a plentiful supply of delicious and healthy foods, so we had no excuse for not eating well. I knew our bodies craved better foods and noticed my own energy level had dropped considerably. I was fatigued much of the time.

I tweaked our family menus so that we once again were eating nature’s bounty. To my surprise, however, my fatigue lingered, along with occasional bouts of acid reflux. Our diets had improved, but I didn’t feel the commensurate improvement in my body.

Fortunately, about this time, a friend told me a bit about digestive enzymes, and I set out to learn more.

How the Good in Good Food is Lost

I discovered that proper nourishment involves more than just eating healthy foods. It’s possible to eat a wide variety of the best foods, use only organically-grown fare, and still be deficient in adequate nutrition.

But why is this so? The key to good health lies in both eating healthy foods and properly digesting them.

We’re born with an ample supply of enzymes to break down the food we eat just after birth: breastmilk. A broader range of enzymes to process other foods and release their nutrients develops gradually as we grow. Nutrients in our food, when properly digested, strengthen our immune systems, enhance cell growth and repair, and boost energy levels.

However, the SAD (Standard American Diet) is an enemy of digestive enzymes. Our abundance of non-living and processed foods actually destroy digestive enzymes!

Time and poor diets whittle away the supply of digestive enzymes, particularly if our diets have been low in fresh, cultured, and raw fruits and vegetables. Consequently, research shows that older people and people with chronic diseases have fewer enzymes in their saliva, urine, and tissues.

Enzymes are also destroyed by stress and environmental toxins. Once the enzymes are gone, the digestive system struggles to compensate for the loss of these essential workers. When enzymes are not plentiful and functioning, a person may experience any or all of the following: fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, bloated sensations, heartburn, acid reflux, excessive gas, and food cravings.

The Great Enzyme Comeback

The good news is that vital digestive enzymes can be restored to the body. Even if your body is depleted of its natural digestive enzymes, you can, through supplemental digestive enzymes, rebuild your body’s inventory of these necessary enzymes. Here are a few of the most helpful.

  • Betaine– A naturally-occurring enzyme in the stomach that helps break down fats and proteins.
  • Pancreatin– A mixture of amylase, protease, and lipase, this enzyme fills the gap where pancreatic secretions are deficient. It has been associated with helping food allergies, celiac disease, automimmune disease, cancer, and weight loss.
  • Papain– Derived from papaya and certain other plants, this enzyme has a mild, soothing effect on the stomach and aids in protein digestion. Papain helps digest protein thoroughly and frees amino acids for quick absorption. It works in acid, alkaline, or neutral environments and is especially valuable for the elderly or anyone who has weak digestion due to enzyme deficiencies.
  • Ox Bile Extract– Excreted by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, this important enzyme assists in digestion of fats. It also assists in metabolizing cholesterol and fat and in absorption of Vitamins K, A, D, and E.
  • Pepsin Enzymes– Pepsin is produced in the mucosal lining of the stomach and acts to degrade protein.
  • Bromelain– Found in the stems and plants of the pineapple, this enzyme is often used to aid irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, gas, and other digestive problems. It is effective in breaking down proteins and rendering their nutrition available to the body.

The Enzyme Solution

Some nutritional experts recommend that at least 70% of your diet should consist of raw, cultured, or juiced foods, all which will boost enzyme production and which also provide healthy levels of fiber, another important element of healthy digestion.

Since heat kills enzymes during cooking and pasteurization, milk products that are pasteurized have no life to aid digestion. These products are essentially cooked and dead, and end up burdening your digestive system. It is far better to use live dairy products. Those made from raw milk are best. Yogurt, for instance, contains beneficial probiotics and is simple to  make at home from raw milk.

When making the shift to a more natural diet, though, go slowly. Introduce raw foods gradually, and allow your body to adjust to the new “climate” you’re creating in your digestive system.

As I discovered, eating raw fruits and vegetables did not immediately cure my fatigue. In my case, I needed help from a supplement to restore my digestive balance and to help my body absorb nutrients in the healthy foods. This is where supplemental enzymes can be such a blessing.

I started by taking one tablet of Beeyoutiful’s Digestive Enzyme with each meal. After about a week, I was able to tolerate foods better, and the tired, sluggish feelings I had been experiencing during the day were gone! I no longer wanted a midday nap and felt energetic and stronger each day.

Beeyoutiful has expanded its line to include four different enzyme options.

  • Digestive Enzymes – Broad Spectrum digestive enzyme with Cellulase and Protease for yeast cell wall digestion.
  • Digest Best – Whether you are looking for a digestive aid to help with protein, carbohydrates or fats, Digest Best’s one pill covers them all with its special blend of non-GMO, vegetarian digestive enzymes.
  • Bromelain – An enzyme derived directly from the pineapple that is beneficial for digestion.
  • GoGoZymes – Beeyoutiful’s GoGoZymes provide a great range of digestive enzymes that are great for both kids and adults. These berry-flavored tablets are certified non-GMO and are free of artificial additives.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that may indicate an enzyme deficiency, you may benefit from a supplemental boost of digestive enzymes. I was amazed at how, in a week’s time, I had more energy and the occasional acid reflux completely disappeared. The road to better health begins with proper digestion!

For even more about the amazing process of digestion, read here and watch here.

Christy StoufferChristy Stouffer moved from the “big city” to rural middle Tennessee where she enjoys gardening, living in a small community among friends, learning about the natural things God has given us for nutrition, and homeschooling her four children with her husband. She is a pianist in her church fellowship and a valued resource of encouragement and wisdom for younger women in her life. Christy’s enthusiasm and research about nutrition and wholesome living is appreciated by all who know her.

*Article has been updated to reflect new products.

Encourage Vitality with Herbal Spring Cleaning for Your Body

spring cleaning herbal tea from Beeyoutiful.com

Grandmothers have known for centuries the power of both culinary and medicinal herbs to aid the body in cleansing and restoring vitality. Encouraging vitality is often a completely different concept than the traditional viewpoint of Western medicine, which typically reacts to a disease but doesn’t encourage wellness from the start. In centuries past, traditional elders knew the importance of aiding the body in keeping well.

It was just this past fall when I read the value of using springtime herbs to help eliminate the toxins accumulated over the wintertime. I think it’s brilliant that each spring, the right herbs to create a cleansing tonic pop up in our yards! I laugh because these healing herbs are the very “weeds” most people spray to kill.

In the midst of my current herbalist coursework, I have found that often things we consider a nuisance in our manicured lawns are herbal gifts ready to nourish and revitalize our bodies. I hope you will join me in appreciating the beauty and wisdom of spring herbs, and have a cup of delicious Spring Cleaning Tea to encourage health and vitality. spring cleaning herbal tea from Beeyoutiful.com

Dandelion Leaf: supports and nourishes the liver, helping to eliminate toxins easier
Red Raspberry Leaf: rich in vitamins and nutrients to ensure the body is nourished, historically used to support and soothe the body through times of illness and can also be used to encourage vitality
Nettles: a great source of calcium and other trace minerals; studies also show that is can help support the body during seasonal allergies
Rosehips: one of nature’s best sources of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals that cause damage to the body and its systems
Hibiscus: delicious and full of anti-oxidants and Vitamin C, great for building the immune system
Calendula: extremely rich in antioxidants, also has been seen to be effective in maintaining a healthy digestive tract and thus lending strength to the immune system
Lemon Peel:  another great antioxidant source that adds a punch of flavor

Spring Cleaning Tea Recipe

2 parts Dandelion Leaf
2 parts Red Raspberry Leaf
2 parts Nettles
1 part Rosehips
1 part Hibiscus
1/2 part Calendula
1/2 part Lemon Peel

Mix all the dried herbs and then store in a glass jar. Use 1 tablespoon for 8 oz or 1 cup for gallon. Boil distilled water and then remove from the heat. Add tea and cover. Let steep for 15-20 minutes, then strain and sweeten with honey or stevia.

Bee Allergy Free This Spring

This article by Tal Ewing originally appeared in our Spring 2014 catalog.

When you suffer from seasonal allergies like I do, you only want one thing: relief! You want your nose to stop running, your eyes to stop itching, and your throat to stop burning. You want to be able to go outside without having to take a pill or squirt something up your nose that you know is probably not good for you in the long run.

Bee Allergy Free This Spring from Beeyoutiful.comBut how can you get to a point in your life where you can live without the pills and the sprays? For most of my life, I thought that was impossible. I remember my parents giving me spoonfuls of liquid antihistamines and taking every over-the-counter and prescription allergy medicine on the market. I took allergy shots for almost a decade. However, nothing seemed to work long term, and the more medicine I took, the worse my allergies seemed to get.

When I first met Steve and Stephanie Tallent, they pretty much knew just one thing about me: Tal has bad seasonal allergies. I’m sure that my wife (the beautiful, wonderful Mary Ewing) had told them stories of my sneezing, hacking, and doctors visits, and that I was the perfect person to test a new elderberry product for them.

So, on our first meeting they came bearing a gift of a bottle of what eventually became Berry Well. It was that gift that helped lead me to finding a few natural solutions that have helped me achieve freedom from the pills and sprays. In fact, since that first meeting I have been able to stop all of my allergy medications and find true freedom from my allergies. Here’s how I did it and how you can, too!

Watch what you eat.

This is the part that most of us hate to hear, but it is vital. When I finally realized that allergies are all about inflammation, I started to look for those things in my diet that lowered my body’s natural immunity and caused it to overproduce histamines. I grew up eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). We did not know better, so by the time I met Mary, my diet consisted primarily of peanut butter and jelly, coke, and ramen noodles. (Hey, what’s a bachelor on a tight budget going to do?!) But I was also on antibiotics monthly because of it.

As we began to clean up our diets, we not only focused on eliminating things such as sugar, processed foods, and additives, but we made sure to also replace nutrients that had been missing. The body can only repair itself if given the correct building blocks, so ensuring adequate intake of healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, as well as nutrient-dense fresh fruit and vegetables, give the body the proper base for health. Eliminating the non-foods or foods that trigger inflammation in the body decreases the likelihood of over-producing histamines.

Take the essentials.

Be sure that you are getting the essential vitamins you need to build a healthy immune system. I finally realized that my allergies were a symptom of my body’s inability to regulate itself. I started listening to my wife, who encouraged me to take a probiotic, since a significant portion of immunity is regulated by the gut. I began with Tummy Tuneup, alternating with Gut Guardian. I also take Digest Best with my meals; Mary tells me this is because enzymes support digestion which in turn decreases the inflammation caused by poorly digested foods.

My daily regimen also includes SuperDadCod Liver Oil and B-Better to support and fill in the gaps in my diet.I added these to my daily doses of Berry Well, and I began to see a significant decrease in the time I spent dealing with my allergy episodes. This was the basis for my healing regimen, but there are several things that I also use, either when I know I am prone to more symptoms or when I am actually experiencing them.

First, I will add Vitamin D3. I usually consume it in two forms, as D3 itself and also in Cod Liver Oil where it is naturally paired with Vitamin A for an added punch. Vitamin D is a natural anti-inflammatory and also works to boost the immune system. Decreasing the levels of inflammation helped to decrease my allergic responses as well. The added benefit of fewer infections also helped keep me out of the doctors office! Although the spring allows for extra sunlight, I would often have to avoid time out of doors due to higher allergens. But as I took my D3, I was able to spend more time out of doors and naturally get my sunlight as well.

Then there’s a miracle substance called Colostrum Transfer Factor. Colostrum’s active components not only boost the immune system and help make it difficult for bacteria to attach to the mucous membranes, but they also regulate the immune response. This prevents over-production of some of the lymphocytes and T-cells that cause the allergic responses. So taking Colostrum can keep you from getting sick, and makes sure that allergies are not running wild at the same time.

Optimally, we would all have access to raw honey, and pollen too. These help give small exposures to local allergens and gradually decrease the body’s reactions to them. Finding a local beekeeper that has healthy bees and then using a teaspoon of their honey every day can help decrease your allergies. If you do not have access to good quality raw honey, Bee Strong is a great alternative!

When I start to feel like I am getting an allergy attack or a cold, I take an extra dose of Berry Well accompanied by a dose of D3 and Vitamin C. This helps my body boost its ability to handle the additional stress of illness.

Calm your allergies with essential oils.

This was the last step I took, but it has been one of the most beneficial in helping me find true allergy relief. If you suffer from allergies, you realize that you cannot always control your environment. Trees are going to pollinate, flowers are going to bloom, and the house is going to need dusting. There is something that you can do, though, to help neutralize those threats to your body: fight them with essential oils. I use a combination of Eucalyptus, Frankincense, and Peppermint essential oils to calm my body when my allergies begin to flare.

During allergy season, we run the diffuser with a base of Eucalyptus almost round the clock (or use Spearmint instead for a child-friendly option). We add to it either FrankincensePeppermint, or Rosemary, just depending on our mood that day! Frankincense and Peppermint both help tremendously when we feel short of breath or stuffy, and Rosemary has been very good for hay fever symptoms. (This bundle includes some of Beeyoutiful’s most popular essential oils for allergies, and there’s even a kid-friendly version.)

There have been times when my allergies have led to slight asthmatic symptoms as well. I used to carry an inhaler, and although I still own one for rescue purposes, I have rarely had to use it because I prophylactically use oils! We keep a small vial of pre-mixed oils that I rub on my chest twice a day when allergies are at their peak.

Allergy Chest Rub for Adults from Beeyoutiful.comAllergy Chest Rub for Adults

3 tsp Almond Oil
10 drops Frankincense Essential Oil
5 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
Always make sure to check for sensitivity when applying essential oils to the skin. This blend can be rubbed on the chest and neck as needed to prevent breathing difficulties or help open up the respiratory passages.

Rubbing the feet with diluted essential oils such as Peppermint, Thyme, Rosemary, or Frankincense can also help aid in relief. This can be done prior to bed or after a warm shower.

Sometimes, when all else fails and my allergies are still bothering me, it is time to reach for extra tools. While I still increase my supplements like Berry Well when allergies strike, sometimes I just want to breathe and open up my nasal passages quickly.

Enter the neti pot or similar nasal flushing device! I include sea salt and xylitol in my mix to help soothe my nasal passages. The salt helps to mimic the isotonic fluids present in the nasal passages and decreases irritation. Xylitol helps to eliminate germs and other toxins found in the nasal passages and makes it hostile for them to try to reestablish their reign. This can be used as needed throughout the day. Discard any leftover liquid at the end of each day, unless you add a few drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract to preserve the liquid.

Nasal Wash for Allergy Season from Beeyoutiful.com

Nasal Wash

1/3 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Xylitol
1 cup warm distilled water
4 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract (optional)

Mix well and use nasal washing device to administer as needed.

While I still might have to wear that paper mask when I cut the grass, by watching my diet, supplementing vital nutrients, and using essential oils, I’ve found that my body is healthier and better equipped to handle the allergens that come my way. That’s been the key to achieving lasting allergy relief.

Tal Ewing manages shipping and inventory for Beeyoutiful. He is married to our own Mary Ewing, and is the busy father of their five adorable children. He enjoys sports, outdoor activities, working in ministry opportunities as well as studying theology. He and Mary hope to soon have acreage where they can expand their backyard chickens into a small hobby farm!

6 Crucial Things You Need to Know BEFORE Using Essential Oils, Part 2

6 Crucial Things You Need To Know BEFORE Using Essential Oils, from Beeyoutiful.com

Thanks for joining us for Part 2 of this article! Don’t miss the vital information and helpful graphic we shared in Part 1.

 In our last post, we talked about how important it is to put safety first and to respect the potency inherent in essential oils. Let’s continue our discussion with four more areas to consider before using these powerful tools.

3What is good for Peter may be bad for Paul

Especially if Paul is a young child! Appropriate and safe guidelines for use vary widely from one species of plant to another, and even more widely from adulthood to childhood. Please take the time to personally research each and every essential oil you use with your child or baby. There are very, very few infant-compatible essential oils, a few that are considered okay for toddlers, and then the list expands by several more for young childhood. Once a child reaches 10 years old, the list of oils considered safe expands significantly. (Here are a few oils that we carefully use with children in our own homes.)

I can hear it now: some of my fellow mamas are voicing exactly what went through my head when I first read some of these age-based safety guidelines. “Huh… well, I rubbed XYZ essential oil on my little one neat and not only were there no adverse reactions but it lowered her fever, so THERE. This sounds like a lot of paranoia to me!” Please understand this: just because you can use a particular oil on a young child with no noticeable adverse effects the first time (or even several times), that does not mean that it cannot happen at a later time. ​(Remember also that not all adverse effects are visible; for instance, you cannot tell from the outside whether your child’s tiny liver is stressed by trying to process the powerful compounds present in certain oils.)

4Reaction x2

There are two main types of reactions that can happen in response to external use of essential oils and it’s crucial for all users to understand them.

Skin irritation was the only type of potential reaction of which I was aware when I started with oils. This is the type of reaction that one is to test for before using any new essential oil externally. Skin irritations can occur in one individual and not in another, due to individual sensitivities. Skin irritation happens on the first exposure to the irritatant, the reaction is rapid, and the severity will depend on the concentration of the irritant present. The skin responds with an inflammatory reaction.

Skin sensitization is the second type of reaction and it took me years of learning to discover a thorough explanation of what it is. Skin sensitization is a type of allergic reaction. The oil will not produce any irritated reaction on the first patch test, but during later exposures, once the allergen has penetrated the skin, the body’s immune system reacts in an attempt to fight off what it views as an invader. This can result in a rash on the skin. Sensitization reactions can also take the form of inflammation, breathlessness, nausea or headache. It is possible to become sensitized to any essential oil, no matter how pure or safe the particular species or variety.

Sensitization to an essential oil happens most frequently through overuse of a specific oil. This is a good reminder that it is unwise to repeatedly use the same oil (or blend of oils) day in and day out. There is benefit to changing out our oils on a regular basis and making sure they are sufficiently diluted for external use. Both of these strategies will decrease the risk of sensitization over time.

5The Swiss Army Knife of natural tools

Essential oils are so incredibly multi-faceted. They can do it all, and do it with style. These are the primary ways they are suggested to be used.

Aromatherapy includes heat diffusion, cold nebulizing diffusion, steam inhalation, or simply smelling the oil from the bottle or applied on an item in the vicinity. It is generally agreed that aromatherapy is the safest way to use essential oils. But, even with aromatherapy, there are cautions to beware.

External use covers applying an oil directly to the skin, either neat or diluted. There is a wide range of opinion as to what constitutes safe external usage, recommended dilutions, and what health situations warrant external use.

Internal use is by far the most controversial form of essential oil usage, with well-diluted considered the safest form of essential oil internal use. Diluted or not, internal use requires the most research and expertise, and entails the highest amount of risks.

There is a range of risks and contraindications inherent in the available options of essential oil use. Understanding this is an important step in being an informed consumer and moving beyond the naive view that all oils are equally safe and viable options for everyone.

6Why a Company cannot create a well-informed Consumer

When I first began using essential oils, I was very careful to read everything I could that was published by or recommended by representatives of the company from which I bought them. After all, who better to trust than the source of the oil itself?

Now that I’ve read many more books, scientific studies, and articles written by certified aromatherapists, I feel a little betrayed by the narrow scope of information given by the company I placed my trust in as a fledgling essential oil consumer all those years ago. There was so very much that they didn’t say, and so much they did say that I found out later was not a reflection of what other experts considered good advice.

My perspective has changed and I no longer hold that company completely responsible for my ignorance as a consumer. I know now that the information a company publishes and shares about their essential oils, with recipes, dilution recommendations, cautions, warnings, and benefit suggestions will all be driven by that company’s philosophy, the personal way the individuals in that company use oils, and the training and personal knowledge of the people in the company. It will also likely be heavily filtered and carefully worded due to the legal restrictions placed upon alternative health businesses.

Through the years, Beeyoutiful’s essential oil descriptions have been revised multiple times. Many times, the edits were very frustrating for us to make because they meant removing information that could be very beneficial for consumers to know but that we are not allowed to share based on our best understanding of FDA guidelines. Other times, the edits were made to reflect new information as we learned it about specific essential oils. The most recent round of edits was intended to be more comprehensive of health, age, and pregnancy and nursing precautions.

We’ve shared how our oils are made, and we’re happy to answer your common questions about them. We are sharing, educating, and disclosing everything we can to the best of our ability, and even so our efforts, on their own, will never be enough to make you a truly informed consumer. No company selling essential oils will ever be able to educate you well enough because the restrictions are too great and our knowledge base is not comprehensive enough even if we could write what we wanted without restrictions. We will never be experts on your health history, or that of your children and your family. We will never be your personal healthcare provider. We are here to simply make available the tools we use with our own families, and do our very best to share helpful information along the way.

We carry books about essential oils and freely give reading recommendations for resources that we trust that will help fill in the gaps we know exist between where our product descriptions end and where knowledgable consumerism begins. Please take advantage of these resources! It is so worth it to have a broad understanding of how these marvelous essential oils work, and this knowledge will enable you to use essential oils for the rest of your life.

Missed the important information in Part 1 of this article? Read it here! If you found this information helpful, don’t keep it to yourself! Use the buttons below to share it with a friend, and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram

6 Crucial Things You Need to Know BEFORE Using Essential Oils, Part 1

6 Crucial Things You Need To Know BEFORE Using Essential Oils, from Beeyoutiful.com

Over the past few years, essential oils have undergone a radical transformation. They went from being the best kept secrets of hippies, crunchy mamas, and alternative healthcare practitioners, and have now burst into the mainstream in a big way. Nowadays, most of us have at least one essential oil fan amongst our friends and family (depending on your social circles, maybe you know more than just a few!). I had no idea myself what essential oils were until several years ago. The few times they crossed my path, the cost and research involved was daunting. (This was before the days of ever-present social media filled with beautiful photographs and easy-to-find recipes, along with bloggers sharing post after post of their top 10 favorite oils and ways to use them!)

But, after a scary episode with our very young daughter having breathing troubles that nearly landed her in the hospital, we broke down and bought a diffuser and some basic oils. That was the start of our learning journey and we’ve been pursuing more experience with and knowledge of essential oils throughout the years since.

We’ve faced plenty of twists and turns on our road, and I want to share with my friends some tips that I wish someone had shared with me at the very beginning of our essential oil journey. These are particularly crucial points to understand if you are a parent making essential oil decisions for young children. 

6 Crucial Things You Need To Know BEFORE Using Essential Oils, from Beeyoutiful.com

Safety First

Essential Oils are incredibly powerful. This is what makes them such marvelous and multifaceted tools, but it’s chilling for me to remember the lack of respect that I had for essential oils when we first began using them. I learned quickly that since essential oils possess highly concentrated amounts of active compounds and properties of the plants from which they are sourced, it is entirely possible to be allergic to an essential oil, or for an essential oil to exacerbate an underlying health condition, or simply be too much for an individual body to handle in specific situations.

Here’s the real deal about safety and essential oils. It’s tempting to think that because they are ​pure and natural​ that they are of course also ​safe and gentle​. This is not always the case! (Hemlock and cocaine are also ​pure​ but nobody would call them ​safe!). Unfortunately, there is enough conflicting and even flat-out dangerous information out there to sink a ship.

Personal responsibility as a consumer is a big deal. Here at Beeyoutiful, we advocate for informed consumerism in all of life. In some areas, the stakes are relatively low and the margins to live and learn are pretty generous. However, because of their sheer concentration and potency and how they can be so easily (even accidentally) misused, the stakes with essential oils are substantially higher.

2

Respect the “essential” part before the oil

A little part of me cringes when I think back on my early enthusiast days as I gleefully squealed to my friends that “I use my essential oils for EVERYTHING!” Because they are indeed so useful for oh so many things, there can be a huge temptation to get into the habit of thinking, “Oh I have an oil for that!” or “Hmm. Wonder what I should do for this situation… let’s try some oils first.”

It is crucial to take the time to be an informed consumer of essential oils. Essential by definition means (in this context) the purest, most concentrated extract possible. Find out the reasons that even some experts are hesitant to use them in any form except aromatherapy, and only with very select oils for children under 10, 6, and 2 years of age. Learn why some experts recommend a minimal dilution. Learn about each individual oil that interests you. If you understand the philosophies the experts use, you will be able to decide when you’ll want to apply caution, and in what situations you might personally be comfortable with a more aggressive approach.

Oils are amazing, incredible tools. We use them daily, if not multiple times per day in our household in a wide variety of ways. But I no longer reach for oils first when I face a health situation. Or even second. And often times not third or fourth either.

Why? Because they are the superstars, the power-houses, the strongest natural medicine available. Essential oils may possess the key component that could make all the difference in a serious situation, yet they are also a choice that can often represent the most potential risk. A lot of us essential oil enthusiasts are guilty of bringing our super-powerful oils to a situation where something a lot less potent would work just as effectively with less risk of complication or adverse reaction. (Ever hear it said of an overzealous person that “he brought a gun to a fistfight”? Don’t be that person!)

This chart is a helpful visual to represent the degrees of potency and risk of adverse effects available to those of us who prefer to use tools from nature to support health and healing. You might be surprised to see that essential oils are ranked right up at the top, just under over-the-counter mainstream medications.

Risk of Adverse Effects: Guide to Natural Remedies from Beeyoutiful.comContinue reading Part 2 where we consider four additional crucial things you need to know BEFORE using essential oils. Was this post helpful? Share it with a friend who needs to know this important information!

Natural Energy for You and Your Little House

whole food supplements: natural energy for you and your little house, from Beeyoutiful.com

This article originally appeared in a slightly different format in our Spring 2013 catalog

Ma Ingalls and her girls gave their house a thorough scrub-down every spring.But if you’re like me, you’re exhausted at the mere thought of doing a Little House on the Prairie-style spring cleaning on top of the regular dishes and laundry. You may also wonder exactly why it seems so hard to accomplish the things on your to-do list.

whole food supplements: natural energy for you and your little house, from Beeyoutiful.comDo your hair and nails look as dragged out as you feel? Are seasonal allergies your excuse? Or maybe you’re pregnant and just counting down the months until you can feel like yourself again; who cares about clean windows anyway?

Off to a Super Start

Even if you’ve made great changes in favor of eating more nutrient-dense, whole foods, it also takes superfoods to help your body stay in top health. These days, pollution, stress, your past history of junky eating and pharmaceutical use all work against every glass of raw milk or organic veggies you consume. Superfoods, though, are super full of nutrition, and because they are nature-made, your body can easily absorb and use their goodness.

So where do you start with adding superfoods to your diet? Which one will jumpstart your system and help you feel like washing windows after folding four loads of laundry, cooking for a crowd, and/or a long day at the office? Spirulina!

This humble, algae-like plant (called a cyanobacteria) is one of the most potent protein and nutrient sources available. And boosting energy is just one of its many abilities. Spirulina also works to relieve congestion, sniffling, and sneezing caused by all types of allergies. It boosts the immune system, helps control high blood pressure and cholesterol, protects from cancer, and more.

How does spirulina come by this impressive resume? As a source of protein, it is 65 percent complete protein. (By comparison, beef is only 22 percent complete.) This also makes it a far healthier choice than those much-touted, dubious protein powders, especially when you consider all the other hidden goodies you get with spirulina.

Spirulina contains all the essential amino acids, plus some, and provides a healthy portion of Omega-3 (like in salmon) as well as Omega 6 and 9. Omega-6 is gamma linoleic acid (GLA), known to be anti-inflammatory (for arthritis relief!), to increase fat burn after exercising, and to make beautiful hair and nails.

Spirulina is replete with vital minerals most of those pretty veggies at the store can’t provide any more, thanks to being grown in depleted soils. Spirulina is high in chlorophyll, which removes toxins from the blood and boosts the immune system. Chlorophyll and iron are a great friend to pregnant mamas, as the tendency for anemia at this season of life is significant. That’s why spirulina is a main ingredient in Beeyoutiful’s SuperMom multivitamins. The easily absorbable, non-constipating iron content of spirulina is 58 times that of raw spinach and 28 times that of raw beef liver.

(But don’t let these facts keep you from taking cod liver oil daily and eating liver weekly as well. Liver, also a superfood, contains full-blown vitamin B12 and vitamin A, not just the precursors present in spirulina. The precursors are generally usable in the body, but young children and many adults with even mild digestive issues may have trouble converting beta-carotene into vitamin A. Also, since it is disputed whether or not the body is able to absorb the B12 found in spirulina, animal products are necessary, too.)

Better Off Teeth, Nerves, and Both Brains

 If weeds get the best of your garden, or your kids (or you!) don’t like vegetables, or you simply wish you could juice but just can’t swing it, then handy, mineral-rich spirulina is the way to get your cancer-fighting daily quota of greens.

Calcium and phosphorus are two of the major mineral players in this fantastic superfood. If these minerals are lacking or out of balance in the blood, tooth decay is in your near future. So spirulina is also recommended as part of a tooth remineralization program. And because the calcium content is more than 26 times that of milk, spirulina is excellent for children, the elderly, and pregnant women, and especially for folks who are casein- or lactose-intolerant.

If your nerves are on edge or your digestion is off, you need spirulina for all the B complex vitamins it contains. The gut is our “second brain,” and it needs the B’s to work well. Do you have candida? Most people do these days, and spirulina has been shown to encourage and support the growth of healthy bacterial gut flora, which helps keep candida overgrowth under control. Because candida will cause and worsen symptoms, this is especially important if you have an autoimmune disease such as Crohn’s, chronic fatigue, lupus, or fibromyalgia.

Yet another feature of spirulina is its ability to chelate arsenic from the body. Hair analysis on one of our daughters showed her to be loaded with arsenic, which mystified me until I learned of the many places she might have encountered it in her young life. Arsenic is often present in well water, in pressure-treated wood like that at playgrounds, and in insect and rodent poison (used in public places even if not at your house). In the past few years, news came out that it can be present even in rice, which especially impacts the gluten-free crowd. Yet the good news for my family was that after taking spirulina for six months, repeated tests showed the arsenic had cleared from my daughter’s body!

“But wait….There’s more!”

Spirulina’s antioxidant ability ranks 24,000 on the ORAC scale (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity), right up there with weird spices we might use only in teeny amounts, and four times the ORAC score of blueberries. Feed your eyesight with spirulina’s antioxidant-rich carotenoids (nutrients found in green and brightly-colored vegetables) including beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein. The high antioxidant amounts in spirulina also lower risk of strokes, inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells, and regulate blood pressure. They also normalize extreme cholesterol levels without the need for dangerous statin drugs. The Weston A. Price Foundation says “young and middle-aged men…who have cholesterol levels just below 350 are at no greater risk than those whose cholesterol is very low. For elderly men and for women of all ages, high cholesterol is associated with a longer lifespan.”

Although the sixteenth-century Aztecs harvested and ate spirulina that grew wild in Mexico’s Lake Texcoco, spirulina is now often grown in protected, organic ponds. Spirulina from polluted sources can cause excess levels of lead, mercury, and cadmium in the body. Beeyoutiful does multiple-sample mass spectrometer testing on each and every batch harvested to assure that no environmental, pesticide or heavy metal contaminants are present in the end product they offer their customers. So you can have peace of mind knowing it is truly pure and safe!

Spirulina does wonders for almost everyone, but if you are prone to gout, have hyperparathyroidism, PKU, or a seafood or iodine allergy, you should avoid it. Because it does have some carbs, you should also consult a physician before using spirulina if you have Type 2 diabetes.

So how much spirulina do you need to get you going? A therapeutic serving size is between three and five grams, preferably broken up throughout the day. Since six tablets of Beeyoutiful’s Spirulina equal three grams, a bottle will last one person approximately one month. For more serious health conditions, take the higher amount, but build up slowly to this dose to avoid detox reactions. Once you re-energize with spirulina, you’ll be ready to tackle that makeover spring cleaning—and to give Ma Ingalls a run for her money!

Nancy Webster is a mother of eight and leads the Southern Middle Tennessee chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation. [LINK] Nancy and her family write online about their “partially working” farm where she is the resident researcher on nutrition and alternative approaches to good health. 

« Older Entries