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.


Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies | How We FlourishThere is a flourless peanut butter cookie recipe that is pretty popular: just sugar, peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. It looked and sounded amazing, but had too much refined sugar in it. I was hoping for something a little “healthier.” Basically less sugar.

First I made the original recipe and I have to say, I wasn’t super impressed. I mean, it was chewy and had a nice texture. It set well and is not oily, which is something I was very worried about. They tasted good enough, but nothing life changing.

Next I made the recipe by cutting the sugar in half and using brown sugar. I felt these had both better texture and better flavor, especially thanks to the brown sugar. I much preferred the reduced sugar, and they still set okay and were not oily.

Finally, I tried to make the cookies with honey, my preferred sweetener. These did not go well. I added almond meal to thicken the batter enough to form the cookies. These were chewy, but the flavor was only okay.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies | How We FlourishThen I had Will do a blind taste test. The results:

  1. Original – dry, with the best flavor
  2. Brown sugar – very good, with the best texture; best cookie of the three
  3. Honey – just a bit odd

So, with these final results, here is the winning recipe for grain-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free flourless peanut butter cookies:

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes about 16 cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup natural peanut butter (can be replaced with other nut butters for a paleo cookie)
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Combine ingredients well in a mixing bowl
  3. Spoon mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and flatten down with a fork
  4. Bake 8-10 minutes, until golden brown around the edges
  5. Let cool and enjoy!
The Final Three

The Final Three

With high quality ingredients, this can be a very good treat. Use a high quality granulated, natural sugar. The peanut butter should have only one ingredient: peanuts. Maybe a little salt. The egg should be pastured and the vanilla should be real, not imitation.


Making Life Choices

Making Life ChoicesLife is scary.

It’s easy to stick with the familiar. To make a plan and just set yourself on that path without considering it much, even as values and situations are changing.

Then something picks up and chucks you off the path.

Pharmacy School

The plan was pharmacy school. I was going to go to college, get a biology degree, go to pharmacy school, get a job as a pharmacist, pay off my loans, and end up as a small town pharmacist with a small house on a few acres with a garden, chickens, and goats. I would be making enough money to support both myself and Will, so he could do whatever he wanted and was able to with his jewelry and the homestead.

I took and did well on my entrance exam. I completed my application and got my recommendations in early. I was invited to the 2nd interview day, and the earlier the interview day, the better your chance at getting in. Only one person from the first interview day didn’t get in! The interview went well, although I was aware of where my application was rather weak. I did love the school, even though I was struggling that semester so much I was worried if I could handle pharmacy school. But I stuck on the course, and knew that when I got my acceptance letter I would immediately say yes and it would be fine. I only applied to one school because I am getting married and the school in our area would have been my number one anyway.

Wait Listed

When I got my decision letter saying I had been placed on the ranked wait list, I cried quite a bit. I knew that this was an okay decision. There have been years that every person on the ranked list got into the school. But I still felt rejected, and I didn’t want to wait until May or June to know where my life was headed. I didn’t want to be the failure that didn’t get into professional school.

But maybe that’s okay…

I was now playing the waiting game, and my semester continued to get harder for me to handle. I took this deviation from the plan as a chance to reflect on what I really want in my life. I hadn’t done this is over 3 years. Since then my life goals have been changing, and my values certainly were changing. Would pharmacy really give me what I want? What I need?

I explored other options and looked into programs that would allow me to help people improve their health and reduce their dependence on medication. I got a few ideas, but nothing that truly turned me. Around this time I started to use essential oils on myself.

After a bit, I found out that Will, too, had been looking into what he wants for his life. The plan had been that he would stay at his job and work to support us while I was in school. Now, if I’m looking at not going to school, maybe we could do something for him. And he found something really cool.

School in Germany

Will is starting to feel stagnant at his work in a small jewelry store. He loves it there, but he feels that he has so much more to learn that he can’t while he is there. He has also always wanted to live in Germany, which happens to have some very good jewelry schools. You can see where this is going.

So we started to plan. We will be in Germany this summer, so he can visit the schools and take their practical exams. I fell madly in love with Germany when I was there in January, and am excited about the idea of living there. This weekend Will is completing his application for the 2015/2016 school year, giving us time to settle as a married couple and work on our German (he took 7 years in school and I’m a beginner) before picking up and moving to Europe.

A big question was money. I don’t want him to have to work while going to school full time, and I won’t be able to work until my German is better. We have substantial savings, but they aren’t enough. Luckily, I found doTERRA, which will allow me to build up a residual income and continue to work when we move. Once again, we have a financial plan that helps us feel secure in our plans.

Reach for your dreams

Reach for your dreams

Who Knows

Now, maybe this plan will get derailed, too. We don’t know if he will get into jewelry school, and any number of other obstacles could come up. But the point is that we are both more excited and passionate about the next for years than we ever were about the original plan. And we would never have gotten to this point if we hadn’t been thrown off the original path and jolted into looking into where we really want to be in our lives.

We can’t know everything that will happen, but we have learned that we need to think critically about what we want, even if it is contrary to “the plan.” And because we have had to make all of these life choices, we have an adventure ahead of us that I cannot wait to embark on.


Homemade Foundation | Scratch Mommy Skincare Review

I’m going to be honest with you. I am not a makeup person.

I don’t wear makeup on a day-to-day basis. To me, makeup is for when I want to look nice. When I want my eyes to pop and my skin to look even.

And how to I do that? Mascara, foundation, and coverup. I don’t even bother with blush, shadow, or eyeliner. I am not a makeup person.

A big part of this is times, money, and energy. I don’t care enough unless it’s an important event or I’m feeling really crummy about how I look. Another part is the makeup itself. I always heard makeup clogs your pores. And that is the last thing I need. And once I made my transition to chemical free, the ingredients are kinda nasty.

But you can make your own makeup! And that’s really cool! But I only have so many containers and ingredients and I don’t want to have to buy things I’ll only use for makeup I don’t wear much.

Enter Scratch Mommy Skincare!

Scratch Mommy Skincare ReviewJess over at Scratch Mommy Skincare is pretty awesome. She blogs at Scratch Mommy and makes all sorts of skincare products – sunscreen, lotion, bug spray, lip balm, etc! All of her products contain minimal ingredients, and they are all ingredients that are natural, organic, and safe to use on skin. Sometimes it can be nice to be able to buy a beauty product, you know?

For those of us who can’t necessarily afford to buy the products, Jess also has many skin care recipes on her blog so you can DIY.

Once again, though, when it comes to makeup, I just really don’t have the energy. So when Jess started selling her homemade foundation, I was all over that!

Homemade Foundation Review | How We FlourishHomemade Foundation

Scratch Mommy Skincare sells this foundation in 4 shades from light to dark. If you aren’t sure what shade you need, you can email her and she will help you out, which is really cool. I purchased the light shade, and it was good for my Irish toned skin. That Irish toned skin also very much so appreciated that the foundation also works as a sunscreen.

The ingredients are simple, and this foundation could easily be made in your home. In fact, she has posted the recipe on her blog!

To put it simply, I love this foundation. It applies and soaks in easily to the skin. It is light and moisturizing, but not greasy. There is not a lot of coverage; it doesn’t cover up blemishes or anything. However, it does help even out my skin tone, which is always incredibly welcome. For images to show how this foundation works, check out Scratch Mommy’s blog post. While I opt for my shea butter most mornings, this homemade foundation would make a great daily moisturizer.

Looking for more coverage?

If you want a bit more coverage, the foundation powder that Jess recommends is a recipe from Live Simply. I made this homemade foundation powder and I like it well enough. I’ve never used a powder before, so using it was kind of a new experience for me. Luckily, with the exception of the vitamin E oil (which I needed to buy anyway), all the ingredients were already in my kitchen, so nothing lost in trying it!

I accidentally made it a bit too dark and I ran out of arrowroot powder, so sadly I haven’t given this foundation a thorough test run. However, I did apply it and I really enjoyed how it looked and felt on my face (the powder, not the color – but the color is easy enough to alter and match!). It was very light and even. And who can say no to a foundation made entirely from kitchen ingredients?

Do you make any of your own makeup?