Broken | One Year Later

On April 19, 2013, I took my last birth control pill. This past Saturday marks one year since that day.

Broken | One year off birth control

The decision wasn’t a whim. In fact, it was something I thought about for almost a year. I did a lot of research into what to expect and what I would do to compensate for not being on the pill. I decided that there was absolutely no reason to be on a medication that was harming my body rather than helping it. I made the decision, waited almost three months for my pill pack to run out, then finally cut myself off from taking synthetic hormones.

If only it was that easy.
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Win a AquaVida Whole Home Water Filtration System! ($4,995 Value!!!)

I have seriously the most amazing giveaway for you this month. Like seriously.

Filtering water can be incredibly important to health. Often tap water contains chemicals that can be harmful to the body. Many people solve this by buying a water filter for their kitchen sink or pitcher for their drinking water. However, it is important to filter all of your water! Did you know that you are most vulnerable to absorbing toxins in the shower? Your pores are open from the steam and ready to soak in whatever is on your skin! It’s why transitioning to shower products free of toxic chemicals is so important, and that should extend to your water, too. Read more about this problem and its importance here.

It can take quite a chunk of change, though, to so thoroughly filter your water. And that is why I have a ridiculously awesome giveaway this month!

April AquaVida Filtration System Giveaway!

Win a, AquaVida Whole Home Water Filtration System! ($4,995 Value!!!)

What if I told you that there was an incredibly generous gentleman named Dan, owner of United Environmental Solutions, who is willing to give one of you a Whole Home Water Conditioning with Two-Stage Filtration System? One that is valued at $4,995? Well, I wouldn’t be lying.

18 amazing bloggers came together, partnering with Dan, to make this happen. Because we know that everyone deserves the cleanest, safest water possible.

Before I get into the specifics of how you can win (and also how you can purchase one of the systems at a wholesale price), I want to take a moment to tell you a little bit about this system and what it can do for you and your family.

What exactly is the AquaVida (Water for Life) Whole Home Water Conditioning with Two-Stage Filtration System?

The AquaVida (Water for Life) Whole Home System is one of the only companies that separates the media with its dual chamber tank. This makes it 10 times more effective. They use only the best carbon and resin on the market to filter and condition your water. There is no mixing, and the resin regenerates weekly so it is practically like getting a new system!

The BEST part is that the AquaVida Whole Home System requires NO FILTER CHANGES! You add salt to the system once or twice per year and that is it for maintenance. The system will last 10+ years! Yep – 10 or more years and NO FILTER CHANGES. Epic right?

What will this Whole Home Water Filtration System remove or reduce?

  • Chlorine
  • Chloramines
  • Hexafluorosilicic acid (which is the human made fluoride added to water)
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Trihalomethanes (THMs)
  • Pesticides
  • Pharmaceutical residues
  • Arsenic
  • Bacteria
  • and much more

What else can it do?

It will soften your water too which is excellent for those of you living with hard water. (And oh how soft and shiny your hair will now be!)

I’m sure you have heard of Berkey and Propur. While these are two great water filtration options (and Dan offers both so visit his site if you are in the market), they can only be used on a small scale – not a whole house scale. Sure, they are not nearly as expensive but honestly, I would rather have something that can manage ALL the water I use and not just some of it.

Want To Own an AquaVida Whole Home Water Filtration System For 70% Off?

I am super thrilled to not only be giving away one of the Whole House Systems but also to give you the opportunity to own one for next to nothing. Dan has agreed to open up a “co-op” opportunity for anyone interested in owning one of these systems. Up to 15 people can get in on this amazing deal. Dan is willing to offer the system for the wholesale price of $1,498.50. This does NOT include installation but Dan can help you find reputable installers who typically charge between $200-$500 depending on how complicated your plumbing is. Let me make sure that you got all that. You can OWN a WHOLE HOME WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM for $1,498.50. You will NOT find a better deal on this caliber of system. Even Costco, known for good prices, can’t touch that. And Dan also stands behind his products so you know he will be there when you need him.

If you want to take advantage of this deal, you need to email Jennifer who is the mama behind Hybrid Rasta Mama. She set this all up so I’ll let her work out the details with you and Dan. You can find her at Jennifer [at] hybridrastamama [dot] com. But you need to email her before May 20th. And I suggest doing it soon. Remember, only 15 people can get in on this and I already know several slots are spoken for. If you are in Canada, you are eligible but there is an additional $300 shipping and customs fee.

The giveaway and how you can win!

Well, it is pretty easy. You just need to use the Rafflecopter Entry Widget below. This giveaway opens TODAY, April 21, 2014 and closes on May 11, 2014 at 11:59pm PST. Winners will be selected within 72 hours after the close of the giveaway from among all eligible entries received during the Giveaway. Winners will be announced on the giveaway post and contacted by Jennifer at HybridRastaMama.com via email. Winners will have 48 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be selected. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents without restrictions and Canadian residents with restrictions. Canadian residents must pay a $300 shipping/customs fee if they win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to show some love to all 18 of the bloggers participating! If you visit their blogs, be sure to say “thanks.” They would appreciate it.


Finding Quiet | What I Learned

Hi, I’m Chloe. I’m an introvert. (Hi, Chloe)

I have been an introvert my whole life. I have always been shy, with a bit of social anxiety. I have always been “highly sensitive,” an actual psychological term I recently learned.

Like many introverts, I have often felt out of place in society. I really appreciated the Ted Talk by Susan Cain on the power of introverts. It can be helpful to have a reminder that introverts do have a place in society – an important one at that.

I frequently get worried and anxious when I think about my future. How can I expect to function in the real world when I have social anxiety and am highly sensitive? How can I expect to succeed in my career as an introvert? During one of these bouts of worry, Susan Cain’s book Quiet was recommended to me. It has been a really great book for me to read  – I saw so much of myself in it and Cain addressed the various facets of introversion.

There are certain aspects that I just have to learn to work through – There’s no way around my extreme hatred of phone conversations caused by my social anxiety, completely unrelated to my introversion. But it is wonderful to learn about and be able to embrace my introversion.

The first time I really saw this in myself was when I went abroad this January. My class had the opportunity to see a Roma game – a once in a lifetime opportunity! How many Americans get to go to a soccer game in Rome? Everyone in my class went…except me.

Rome stressed me out. It was very crowded and busy and the subway was the worst. We would have to take the subway to the very crowded game, the only place that anyone in the history of the trip has gotten pick pocketed. We had been there for over a week and I was tired. Would the game have been a great experience? Probably. Do I still feel very left out when I look at pictures or hear stories from that day? Yes. Was the sacrifice worth it for the time alone to recharge? Absolutely. I actually ended up writing a paper about the experience.

There is a strong different between being an introvert and being a loner. Many a time I have felt lonely and isolated and in need of company. I just prefer smaller groups. If I am in a group of more than 4-5 people, I may as well be alone. In fact, sometimes it is work because it just drains my energy. But if I am sitting with one other person and talking, that is the dream. It is there that I find connection and friendship, and that means so much more than just knowing people who I can spend time with but don’t actually care about me.

The point of this post is that I have struggled with my introversion and other related areas of my psyche my whole life and I am just started to understand how to accept, embrace, and nourish that part of me. I can live the life I want, and I can be strong. Sometimes I just need to find quiet. But more than anything, I need to embrace the power of my introversion and help others see that introvert is not a 4 letter word. We are actually pretty awesome. :)


Essential Oils for Acne

I’ve had acne my whole life.

It hasn’t been bad. I know it could be a lot worse. But it was bad enough to cause me self confidence issues. Especially since even as a teen I refused to use cover up. Even if I did, those babies were huge. And often painful.

My doctor prescribed all sorts of creams, and over time I would find products and regimines that my skin mostly responded to. But I still always had blemishes. And those treatments were harsh on my skin. My skin was always dry and tight, and flaky in the winter. Yet within two hours of washing my face, it managed to be crazy oily at the same time!

It would be nice if I could just have skin like those people in the commercials, right?

Things got better when I began to use more natural products, but I still struggled. Then I found the solution.

Essential Oils for Acne

Essential Oils for AcneAnd not just essential oils, but oil in general. Have you heard about the oil cleansing method? The first time I tried this, I was amazing by how great my skin felt the next morning! It was not dry, flaky, or chapped. And it wasn’t oily.

This blew my mind. I put oil on my skin, and it wasn’t oily? For the first time in my life, my skin was balanced. But it got better. Because I discovered the Clear Skin blend from doTERRA.

This blend of black cumin seed oil, rosewood, melaleuca, eucalyptus, geranium, and lemongrass essential oils is kind of the greatest thing ever. It comes in a roller bottle for easy application, and I dilute it 1:1 in fractionate coconut oil so that it doesn’t dry out my skin too much.

Now, I barely use anything on my skin. In the morning and night, I rub the Clear Skin onto blemishes and my problem areas. 3 nights a week, I oil cleanse with fractionate coconut oil that I had put a little bit of frankincense in it. I love how frankincense helps with cell repair and healing my skin! It takes care of what years of acne have left behind.

Now, I don’t expect you to just take my word for it that these two small things have been more amazingly helpful for my skin. While you can’t see the improvement in texture and balance, I am going to show you not one, but the two worst pictures of me in existence. So please ignore my gross hair (the way my hair looks in these pictures has nothing to do with water washing – that’s just how my hair looks), lack of facial expression, and just general ickiness.

Instead, focus on how fewer blemishes I have and the fact that I am wearing no make up in either picture. These pictures were taken a couple months apart.

Essential Oils for Acne

Ugh…

You can see that my skin isn’t perfect. Healing acne takes more than just finding a product that works for you. The best and most consistent way to heal acne and truly achieve clear skin is to go on a clean eating diet. Going on an elimination diet and cutting out nightshades was a huge help for cleaning up my acne! And my diet hasn’t been great this school year, giving the need for a great acne remedy!

I love Clear Skin because not only does it clear up blemishes and keep them away, but it also nourishes my skin. It doesn’t contain harmful chemicals and it brings balance rather than the junk that used to make my skin oily and dry at the same time. I don’t ever want to give this little stick up!

What to learn more? Watch the video I recorded about Clear Skin or read more about essential oils here.


Treating Gastric Distress | Old Medicine

Treating Gastric Distress

Photo Credit: Hooloovoo via Compfight cc

Gastric distress is something people have been dealing with for millennia, am I right?

So what do we do about it?

I know what I do, and I know what the TV commercials tell us to do, but what did people do 100 years ago? I pulled out my Principles of Medical Treatment to investigate.

This sections had three main parts: acute indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation. These may seem pretty standard. Pop an antacid, take some Pepto-Bismol, take a laxative, there’s always a drug for whatever ails you.

But we don’t like drugs, do we?

Gastric Distress – The 1916 Way

My book offers simple and practical advice for treating gastric distress. Have the patient rest and remove the cause of the symptoms if possible. Let the digestive system rest with a simple diet, typically just water and broth until the patient feels they can handle food. Hunger and a clean tongue (as opposed to a coated tongue) are the markers for being able to assimilate food.

For diarrhea, an enema may be helpful for removing the irritant, and starches consumed should contain little cellulose. They also suggest drinking green tea or red wine could help. Huh. Wine seems like an interesting choice.

For constipation, they offer many options for enemas to help clean out the rectum, as well as consuming the old standard of prunes.

Overall, the suggestions are fairly basic and are things I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about today.

Gastric Distress – The modern, natural way

Like I said, the advice is simple and practical. While running to the pharmacy may make us feel better faster, we’ll be better off if we take care of our body, let it rest and recover, and remove what is causing the problem. Of course, if the problem is severe, you should go to the doctor.

Here are some more suggestions for natural relief from gastric distress:

  • Probiotics: Taking probiotics helps balance your gut and helps prevent, as well as provides relief from, gastric distress.
  • Essential oils: My favorite is using DigestZen – I rub a couple drops on my stomach whenever it is upset.
  • Ginger: Whether you are taking ginger tea, oil, or freshly grated on some rice, ginger can be very helpful for soothing an upset tummy.
  • Activated charcoal
  • For constipation: Chia seeds. Make jam, gluten free breads, super smoothies, or puddings with them. When I eat them regularly, my digestive system moves very well. I actually have to be careful about how much I eat, or things move a bit too fast.
  • Most importantly: apply heat, drink broth, rest, and stay hydrated!

If gastric distress is a common problem for you, consider what may be causing it. Are you under chronic stress? Is your diet poor? Could you been sensitive to something you eat a lot (like dairy or gluten)? An elimination diet or a lifestyle change may be just what you need to find relief.