Friday, December 1, 2017

Thankful For Reflexology

I apologize that this post is a day late. It's been a busy week, but I'm thankful for all that I'm able to do these days! And I'm excited that last month I completed the process to become a certified reflexologist! I started the training about a year and a half ago, and along the way I've seen more of what a wonderful gift reflexology is.

For those who haven't heard about it, here are some quick facts from the International Institute of Reflexology.

What is reflexology?
Reflexology is a science that deals with the principle that there are reflex areas in the hands and feet that correspond to all the organs, glands and parts of the body. Reflexology stimulates these reflexes using specific techniques.

What does it do?
Reflexology helps to relieve stress and tension.
It improves nerve and blood supply.
It helps nature normalize (come back to balance).

By working the reflexes in the feet, specific areas of the body can benefit (through the three things listed above). It's amazing to me how God created our bodies, not only with the ability to heal and repair, but also with built in help such as reflex areas in the hands and feet. 

For me, reflexology has been a great addition to the other things I've done for my health. Having reflexology sessions helped me a lot when I was still recovering from years of chronic illness. It has also helped me with issues, such as trouble breathing, pain, reducing stress, etc.

Here's a brief quote from someone I did reflexology for earlier this year:

"I did reflexology with Joanna after a very physically and emotionally stressful period of my life, and I found it really helpful. Working on my feet really helped highlight and release things in my body, and sped up the healing process, and even started it in some cases where my body seemed 'stuck.' Having Ehlers Danlos Syndrome means that I'm quite wary to place my body under the care of others as it is very fragile and hyper-flexible, but Joanna was very sensible to the needs of my body and its limits." -S.W.

So far I've been able to do reflexology for a variety of people with different health challenges - including headaches, arthritis, back pain, acute pain, allergies, intestinal problems, and more. I've had great feedback from people about it.

Reflexology isn't a "magic button;" it's simply another tool that can be used in taking care of our health.

From my experience, I'd encourage anyone with severe or chronic health problems to start slowly with reflexology. When my health was still pretty bad, I started with a 20 minute reflexology session (10 minutes per foot). Gradually I was able to build up to having longer sessions. I also told my reflexologist when to use less pressure. She was great about being sensitive to my needs.

Some people I've worked with can start with an hour session, and it feels great to them! It just depends on the individual and what their body needs.

If you haven't tried it before, you might consider reflexology. The IIR (International Institute of Reflexology) that I did my training with, has a list on their website by state of certified reflexologists, if you want to try to find someone in your area. You can also read more information about reflexology on their website: http://reflexology-usa.net/

Reflexology has been a blessing for me. I'm excited about seeing it hopefully be a blessing to others as well.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Choose Less Sugar


I wrote a post about the harmful effects of sugar a few years ago. But with the holidays upon us, I think it's a good time to address this topic again.

Not only does sugar negatively affect the body in many different ways, but most people are seriously over-consuming sugar! 
Some form of added sugar is in almost every prepared or processed food these days. And most of these sugars are under various names you might not realize are actually sugar.

(See Dr. Mercola's article - https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/10/12/other-names-for-sugar.aspx for a long list of such names.)

Just how much sugar is too much?
"The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend limiting your daily added sugar intake to nine teaspoons (38 grams) for men, and six teaspoons (25 grams) for women. The limits for children range from three to six teaspoons (12 - 25 grams) per day, depending on age...and I strongly recommend limiting your daily fructose intake to 25 grams or less from all sources, including natural sources such as fruit—regardless of whether you’re male or female."

The reason these numbers are so important is because of how our bodies work.
"The main problem with sugar, and processed fructose in particular, is the fact that your liver has a very limited capacity to metabolize it...you can safely metabolize about six teaspoons of added sugar per day...the average American consumes 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day."

The human body is not made to handle the high amounts of sugar people eat today. That's why “sugar consumption in America is one of the 3 major causes of degenerative disease." 

Many people say, "Well, I don't eat much sugar." But when you ask a few more questions, you realize they are consuming a LOT more sugar than they realize. "Sugar" isn't just cookies or candy. It's in almost every processed food, like tomato sauce, salad dressing, crackers, etc. If you read every label and added up how many grams a day you're consuming, it would probably be well over the recommended amount.

The kind of sugar you consume is also important. High fructose corn syrup is probably the worst kind of sugar (see my previous post here). White table sugar runs a close second. However, things like fruit, honey, and even small amounts of real maple syrup have various health benefits - as long as they aren't over-consumed.

This time of year it seems like the sugar is flowing freely at every event and place you go. But I hope you'll consider what a gift you'll be giving your body, your health, and your loved ones if you watch out for sugar. 


Thursday, November 2, 2017

What Are Tonsils There For?

Do you still have your tonsils? Many years ago doctors starting removing tonsils from children who had frequent infections. So a lot of adults today are missing their tonsils. Tonsils are treated similar to the appendix - they're not essential, you can live without them. So if we can live without them, what are they there for? Good question, glad you asked. =)

The tonsils are actually lymph nodes that contain immune cell-produced antibodies that help kill germs and prevent infections. They are a key part of our body's defense. Here's a quote from an article by Dr. Axe -

"The tonsils are considered “guardians” since they’re a part of the immune system, specifically the lymphatic system, and are made up of tissue that acts as a natural germ filter. The tonsils are one of our first lines of defense, since they normally trap germs (bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc.) that make their way into the mouth or nose and threaten the immune system.

They’re responsible for tackling threatening pathogens soon after they enter the body, stopping them from potentially traveling further into the body and causing infections. The production of germ-fighting antibodies is one of the most important roles for the tonsils, since these white blood cells attack bacteria that are deemed dangerous."
(from - https://draxe.com/tonsillitis/ )

As you can see your tonsils are actually quite important. Even though you can live without them, they serve a vital role in your overall health.

For those who have frequent throat infections, the answer may not be removing the tonsils, but focusing on improving the immune system. The tonsils can keep the infections from going to other parts of the body. Without your tonsils, you may still get infections, but they'll show up in other places in the body. 

When dealing with frequent infections, remember that many time when the tonsils are infected, it's actually from a virus, not a bacteria. So it's important to confirm the presence of a bacterial infection if antibiotics are prescribed as a treatment.

There are many natural remedies that can help fight throat infections. Various herbs, essential oils and supplements can help, for example: slippery elm and licorice root herbs, lemon and frankincense essential oils along with others, and vitamin C, garlic, and oregano. Of course what works best will depends on the person, what their body needs, and what the situation is. There are many good tools available. Find what seems to be helpful for you. You can read Dr. Axe's article (link above) for more information on fighting infections naturally.

If you've already had your tonsils removed, then you don't have that first line of defense in your throat. So it would be good to do things to boost your immune system and especially to keep good oral health, so that germs don't have a chance to get past the throat into some other area of the body.

Again, essential oils can be helpful for this. Rinsing your mouth and gargling with mild saltwater (using a good quality sea salt) can help, especially during times when germs are more prolific. Rinsing your mouth with coconut oil can also be good, although it can cause you to detox, so be cautious when starting that.

Obviously eating a healthy diet, getting adequate rest, staying hydrated, and taking care of yourself overall is important. And keeping your lymphatic system healthy is also key. You can do that through lymphatic massage, stretching, deep breathing, etc. Probiotics can also be helpful (when you find one that works well for you).

Your tonsils were designed by God for an important purpose. If you still have yours, I hope you'll appreciate them more after reading this. =) And if you don't have yours anymore, I hope you'll find some good ways to improve your immune and lymphatic systems.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Brain Detoxification


I learned something new today. Isn't that fun? :) (It's good for us to always keep learning!) 

I learned about the "glymphatic system." Have you ever heard of it? It's your brain's detoxification system, and it's pretty amazing! 

This system is similar to the lymphatic system in the body, but is unique to the brain (since the lymphatic system doesn't include the brain). 

During sleep this system is activated and "garbage" in the brain is removed. 

This is yet another reason why adequate and good quality sleep is so important! Without healthy sleep, the brain can't properly detoxify. 

Think of it like running the dishwasher at night while you sleep. When you wake up, the dishes are all clean and ready for another day of use. :) 

There's much more to the "glymphatic system" than my simple explanation, so here's a great article that I encourage you to read. 


And please remember that getting healthy sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. 


So on that note, I think I'll get some sleep now. Sweet dreams! :) 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Keep It Light

When life feels overwhelming, as it often does, we tend to be serious about everything. But even in the midst of great challenges, I think we still need moments to pause and let our hearts be light, even laugh out loud. I know sometimes that feels impossible or perhaps irreverent. Yet God reminds us that "the joy of the LORD is your strength" (Neh. 8:10).

So whether things are ok for you right now, or you're feeling crushed by trials, or you're somewhere in between...I hope you'll take a few minutes today to pause. To breathe. And to think about something that makes you laugh or brings you joy. Don't let hardships or pain consume you 24/7. Make a space once in a while for your heart to be light again.

Here's a little something to help you out today. Some classic comedy, though not exactly the healthy way to secure food. =) Enjoy, and let the gift of laughter be a "little vacation for your soul" as my friend says. =) 

God bless you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KQnA2U46JI

Friday, September 22, 2017

Reducing Stress

I'm sorry this post is a little late. Things have been a bit crazy for me lately, but God is good. With all I'm going through, I thought this post about dealing with stress was a good one to share again. I hope it's helpful for you too. =)

Tips for Dealing With Stress

Stress is a pretty hot topic these days, as it should be. It seems people have never been more stressed-out than they are now. In spite of modern "conveniences," for many people life has gotten more complicated, more frenzied, and more demanding. 
However, living with ongoing stress causes all kinds of health problems (such as heart disease, digestive problems, depression, autoimmune diseases, etc.). 
So what can we do to reduce stress? Here are a few tips:
Physically:
This specific kind of massage is excellent for de-stressing the body. It's a relaxing massage that also stimulates the body's natural healing processes. My massage therapist recommends having a lymphatic massage at least twice a month, or every week if possible.
2) Exercise
 Research clearly shows that regular exercise is necessary and beneficial for almost everyone.
(If you have a severe adrenal or thyroid condition, then it's often better not to exercise until the condition improves. For many months I didn't attempt exercise because it would have made my condition worse. Be sure to listen to your body and to your health provider so you know it's safe for you to begin exercising.) 
The kind of exercise that is best depends on each individual's condition and specific needs. For many people walking is the best exercise. Others can handle a more strenuous program. It's important to figure out what is best for where you are right now and then start!
Consistent exercise reduces stress in the body and boosts health in many other ways as well. 
 Most people don't breathe well. Taking a few minutes 2-3 times a day to practice deep breathing can help reduce stress in your body. 
You can do this standing (take a big breath in while raising your arms over your head, then slowly exhale while you lower your arms). Or you can do it while lying on your back (inhale deeply, filling first your diaphragm then your lungs with air, then exhale slowly). 
Also, when you're confronted with a stressful situation, form a habit of stopping to take a deep breath in and then releasing slowly. This will calm the stress reaction and help you think more clearly about how to respond.
Laughing actually shifts the body from a stress response to a relaxed state. (It has many other great benefits, including increasing endorphins, boosting the immune system, and giving your heart a workout). 
Dr. Don Colbert recommends 20 seconds of belly laughter 10 times a day. So find some comedy videos, read a joke book, or just laugh for no reason! You'll be glad you did. =) 
These four things are great for physically reducing stress in our bodies. 
Spiritually/Emotionally:
5) Prayer partner 
 Ask someone you know to be a weekly prayer partner. You can meet with them face to face or over the phone. Sharing your needs and requests with another person and then praying together can do wonders to reduce stress. 
God says to be anxious for nothing, but in all things with prayer, petition, and thanksgiving to present our requests to Him. And He promises that His supernatural peace will guard our hearts and minds (Phil. 4:6-7). 
Even though we can do this on our own, I've found that having a prayer partner to share my requests and prayers with helps me tremendously.
6) Worship time
 If you haven't already, start a habit of spending at least 10 minutes a day simply worshiping God. 
It's great to sing along to praise music throughout the day. But it's even more vital to set aside a specific time with no agenda, no multi-tasking, and no distractions. Then you can focus on God - how great He is, how much He loves you, His faithfulness, etc. 
So get comfy on the couch, stand in your backyard, or hide in your closet if necessary, and spend some time singing praise to God and worshiping Him.
If you try this for a week, I think you'll be amazed at how much it brings down your stress level. As you focus intentionally on God, the cares and stress of this life gradually fade to their proper perspective. 
These two habits have wonderful potential to lower stress and enhance your spiritual/emotional health.
Practically:
7) Simplify
 - Your schedule
Most people are way too busy, resulting in feeling stressed out all the time. Pray over your schedule and see what activities or commitments you can cancel. Let God guide you in His plan for investing your time, then happily let go of the rest. =) 
 - Your environment 
We all have more stuff than we need. Take some time to find things you can give away, sell or throw away (or make a habit of reducing excess clutter little by little). Worrying about "stuff" causes unnecessary stress. Research shows that often people with fewer possessions are happier than those with much. So keep your "stuff" simple.
 - Your media intake
Today we're bombarded with media 24/7. With smart phones we're never "unplugged" from news, email, Facebook, blogs, etc. But this deluge of media actually adds stress. Take a realistic look at how much media you consume daily. Then find ways to cut back and allow yourself time off to breathe and enjoy some of life's simple pleasures. =) 
It takes effort to simplify and keep life simple, but the rewards of a more focused, less-stressed life and truly worth it! 
I hope these tips are helpful. What ideas would you like to add for dealing with stress?
 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Use Your Words


I've been thinking again about the power of our words. Words can be life-giving, or not. Thankfully we can use words in a positive way for our health, for our life, and for encouraging others.

Today I want to repost something I wrote a few years ago. I hope it's helpful, and I hope you are encouraged to speak words that bring life to you and to others! =) God bless.


I Hear What I Say


Several years ago a health professional told me to start saying "positive affirmations" every day, like:
"Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better." 
I didn't see how that could possibly be true, and somehow it felt wrong to say it. So I never did. Even though that probably wasn't the best statement for me to use, it was a good idea to change the words I spoke. Eventually I discovered the powerful effect our words have on us, and I started to use them in a positive way.
The reality is that our brains hear what our mouths say. Every time we say something negative (even if it feels true) about physical symptoms or emotions of frustration, discouragement, etc...it only reinforces that negative idea in the brain and in the body. 
I had to learn to stop saying words that didn't contribute to good health, and instead practice saying words that promote healing and strengthening in my body.
I think the most powerful statements we can tell ourselves are the ones that begin with "I am...." 
- I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
- I am perfectly designed for a unique purpose.
- I am strong and healthy in every season. (This is one I've been using a lot lately.) 
- I am courageous and fearless! 
- I am calm and capable in any situation.
- I am happy, thankful and full of life! 
Other good statements to use begin with "I can" or "I love" -
- I can do this! I can handle this. I can enjoy this." (fill in whatever "this" is for you)
- I love my family! I love my house! I love my life! =)
Believe me, I know at first it can seem awkward to say things that may not "feel" true. But remember that words are a gift from God - to help us change! Our brains control everything in our bodies. If we want change in the body, we need to have change in the brain. And changing our words is probably the best way to make changes in our brains. 
When we tell ourselves positive truths, we are choosing to focus on those things over the negative things.

I'm not saying that you can tell yourself "I'm healthy" and all health challenges suddenly disappear. 

I am saying that negative words do NOT help in the healing process, but positive words DO. 
Think about the things you usually say to yourself, or that you say about yourself to others. Are those words reinforcing negativity in the brain? If so, consider what statements you can use to replace the negative ones.

Start with statements you're comfortable with, even if it's something like:
"I'm pressing on. I'm moving forward. I'm making progress."

Choose a statement with a positive direction for you and start using it.
Then gradually add in other statements and stretch yourself a little more.

- If you want to be thankful, even though you may not feel thankful, then start saying "I love to be thankful." Your brain will hear that new message and begin to change your attitude. 
- When you feel tempted to discouragement, say, "I can be happy!" 
- When you feel challenged, say, "I am capable in this situation."  

Think of it like a game and try to always find a positive statement for any challenging moment.

I can testify that changing our words is an essential step to take in the healing process. Our brains need to hear us say things that support health and well-being - because I hear what I say, and so do you!

So I'll get you started, ok? =)
You are wonderfully created by God for a unique purpose! 
You are loved more than you can imagine!
You are strong and courageous! 
And you can use positive words as a tool for healing! =)

Yes and amen.
Your turn! =) Please share in the comments one positive statement you will tell yourself this week. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Healthy Holidays

It's nice to have holidays to take a break from routine and celebrate things. It seems like some people are trying to get new holidays recognized for specific things now, like National Friendship Day or National Take Your Pet To Work Day. =)

I was thinking that it's about time we had some "healthy holidays" for those of us living a more health-conscious lifestyle. We need holidays we can celebrate heartily in a healthy way. =)

Maybe something like these...

National Adrenal Day - Eat some organic dark chocolate, take a nap and then go to bed early.

Be Kind To Your Pancreas Day - Celebration could include special sales on stevia, honey, and other white sugar alternatives, as well as swapping sugar-free recipes with friends. 

National Take Your Neighbor To The Health Food Store Day - Invite a neighbor out and teach them the joys and wonders of shopping at the local health food store. 

Happy Liver Day! - Have a detox bath, change your air purifier filters, and take your coworkers a green smoothie.

Off The Grid Day - A day to turn off cell phones, tablets, wireless, etc. and actually sit outside on the ground (for grounding), and enjoy face to face conversation with people.


What do you think? What kind of healthy holiday would you like to have and how would you celebrate it? Leave a comment with your ideas. =)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Tips For Adrenal Support

For many years I had very low adrenal function. During that time we learned about things I could do to help my adrenals. So for anyone dealing with adrenal stress or fatigue, here are some tips that might help.


1) Drink a glass of warm salt-water every morning.
I usually put in enough salt that I can taste it, but not so much that it tastes bad. If I was feeling a lot of stress on my adrenals, I sometimes did this up to three times a day. Just be sure to use a good salt, like a mediterranean sea salt, celtic sea salt, etc. (It's the refined table salt that can be bad for blood pressure, etc., because of the way it's been processed.)

2) Do deep breathing.
There are different ways you can do this. I like to do deep breathing while standing. I simply raise my arms over my head while inhaling deeply. Then I hold the breath for a second before slowly exhaling while lowering my arms. You can also do deep breathing while lying on your back. Inhale deeply into your diaphragm, then into your lungs. Hold for a second, then exhale from the lungs and then from the diaphragm. Deep breathing helps boost oxygen and also helps de-stress the body.

3) Get to bed by 10 pm.
This is really important for adrenal function. For years I literally couldn't stay up past 10:00, because my body just quit then. Now that my adrenal function is so much better, I can stay up later. But I still feel better when I get to bed earlier. I know it can be challenging to get to bed early, just do the best you can. =)

4) Have regular lymphatic massage.
This is a specific kind of massage that stimulates the lymphatic system, which is your body's natural detox system. Even a half hour once a week of lymphatic massage can really help your body relax and de-stress, as well as detoxify more effectively.
http://supereigirl.blogspot.com/search?q=lymphatic+massage

5) Spend less time on electronic devices and do grounding often.
The excessive EMF's in the world today do have an affect on the body, especially the adrenals. With adrenal fatigue it's important to minimize EMF exposure. Grounding also helps, which is basically standing barefoot on the ground (as long as it hasn't been sprayed with chemicals like pesticide, etc.). Grounding helps your body release excess EMF's that have built up and also is considered to have strong anti-inflammatory results. People who do grounding regularly usually find they sleep better as well.

6) Try organic dark chocolate.
My doctor started me on organic dark chocolate when my adrenal function was very low. I still eat one or two small squares, usually 2-3 times a day. You can also get a powdered organic chocolate (unsweet) that mixes in water. Organic dark chocolate has many health benefits. Just remember to use it in small portions and get it unsweet or with very low sugar content.

7) Include key supplements.
The most important supplements for me have been vitamin C, magnesium, and B-complex. A good probiotic can also be helpful, but it can be challenging to find one that works for you. You can read my previous post for more info about that.
http://supereigirl.blogspot.com/2017/04/importance-of-probiotics.html

8) Avoid caffeine, sugar, and toxic foods.
These things may seem to give you a temporary fake energy, but they actually put stress on the adrenals, as well as the liver, gut, etc. Instead, make sure you're eating enough healthy protein, healthy fats, and good nutrient-rich foods.

9) Minimize stress, and learn to say "No."
This can be hard, but it's important for adrenal recovery. Look at your current situation and decide if there's any commitments you can resign from, any relationships you need to step back from, or any habits you need to let go of in order to reduce stress factors in your life. Practice saying "No, thanks anyway," when you need to.  

10) Laugh a lot and find joy in the small things.
Laughter is a wonderful medicine, take it often! =) Keep a positive attitude and look for the joys in each day. Practice gratitude and contentment. And hold on to hope, knowing that your body is fearfully and wonderfully made, and that with the right tools and healthy choices, it's possible to have healthy adrenal function again.

I hope this is helpful! Do you have any tips you can add?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Yes, This Healthy Stuff Works

This week I wanted to share a few testimonies about some of the simple changes you can make for your health that can have a big impact.

For some people, making simple changes might not yield as noticeable results as it does for others, but even then you can know it's having a positive impact on your body.

So keep up the good work of making healthy choices and living in hope! =)


"One of the best tips Joanna gave me was to drink more water. I found that the simple change of increasing intake of good water (spring water) improved my digestive system, my skin tone and my ability to detox. If you're not drinking enough water (half your body weight in ounces), why not try it? It's a simple, inexpensive habit that can make a world of difference in your health." -Jan

http://supereigirl.blogspot.com/2013/08/water-for-life.html


"For over twenty years I had dealt with a chronic asthma condition, being both allergy and exercise induced. I was daily taking my emergency inhaler and in the later years was even on a steroid as well. When Joanna challenged me to stop using fabric softener in my laundry, I was really just thinking of the benefits of not using a carcinogenic product on me and my family. It wasn't until 6-8 weeks later did I realize that my asthma symptoms had almost completely disappeared. I got off the steroids without a problem and my use of the emergency inhaler went from 3-5 puffs a day to maybe 1-2 puffs a month. I would have never dreamed this one small change could make such a difference in my health and my pocketbook - asthma medicine is expensive!! I encourage other asthmatics often to stop using fabric softener and see the difference it can make!" -Jenn

http://supereigirl.blogspot.com/2017/06/goodbye-fabric-softener.html


"I struggled with getting a good night's sleep for months. I would lie in bed wide awake for hours, often staying awake until 1 or 2 a.m. When I did finally fall asleep, I was not getting the deep restful sleep that my body needed. Joanna sent me several suggestions for sleeping better, and I realized that there were several things that I was doing wrong. The two most obvious mistakes I was making were having the wifi router on the nightstand within one foot of my head, and keeping my cellphone right next to that and it was always on and charging. Although I was somewhat skeptical, I decided to move the wifi box downstairs, and turn the phone off at night. Since then, I have been sleeping much better! The only time I have woken in the middle of the night since then, was a few nights ago when the cat was screaming outside to be let in. Other than that my sleep has been much better. I will be turning the phone off every night from now on." -Jason

http://supereigirl.blogspot.com/2013/09/sleep-sweetly.html


Do you have a testimony to share of a simple health change that made a big difference? Please share with us in the comments. =)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Where In The World Is Joanna?

Hello friends! I hope you are doing well today and staying encouraged in spite of any challenging circumstances.

I'm happy to report that I've had a wonderful summer of travels! I'm still amazed at how far God has brought me! Ten years ago I wouldn't have imagined I'd be able to do all the things I've been doing lately. Praise God!

My friends told me to take a lot of pictures this summer, so I did...I think I've taken over 2000 photos during the last five weeks. =) I thought I'd share some of them here. For me, these photos are a reminder that -
*God hears our prayers.
*We can hold on to hope even when we can't see. 
*God has good plans for us even through the pain.
*Our suffering isn't wasted. 
*God is able to do more than we can ask or imagine!

So here are a bunch of photos of me...I apologize if that's boring for you, haha. I have hundreds of pictures of beautiful scenery, but in this post I want to give God glory for what He's done for me and all the places He's taking me...places I didn't dream I'd be able to go. I hope this encourages you that God also has good plans for you, He does hear your prayers, and He will bring something good from your suffering.

God bless you!

Scotland 

The beach at St. Andrews is lovely! 
I enjoyed visiting the Edinburgh museum.

Enjoying the park with friends.
Yes, that's me on a slide! =) 

  
It was so cold in the Scottish Highlands! But worth it for the incredible view! 
 

We visited a wild animal park. The tigers were impressive!

I love this beautiful waterfall in the countryside!


Northern Ireland 
Visiting Glenariff, a breathtakingly beautiful place!
Waterfalls!!!

My friend and tour guide, Alan. =) 

Me riding on a train from Belfast! It was actually pretty fun. =)

Going on a hike, believe it or not. =) 

Visiting the village of Carnlough on the coast.

Getting ready to ride horses in County Down!!!
I tried to get my horse to stand still for the photo, but she loved to go! =) 

My new buddy, "Bud."

So enjoyed seeing the Mountains of Mourne and the beach at Newcastle again. 
(I was there in 2000 and loved it!)


 Norway 

Taking the ferry to the islands in the Oslo Fjord. Loved it!
 
Visited some ancient ruins from the 1100's, quite an experience. 
The view over Oslo and the fjord is amazing! 

Picnic at the harbor in Holmestrand.

So enjoyed the botanical gardens in Oslo. 


Stopping to smell the roses. =) 


View from the Opera House in downtown Oslo, with a glacier sculpture in the background.

We found a sweet little bridge up on a hillside. =)

Downtown Oslo, the city of the tiger.
I crossed this bridge several times while in Olso.
Practicing my ski jump position. =) 

Sweden 
Visited a friend's art and music store. Loved it! 

  
Still so much to see! 

And now I'm heading back to Florida today. It's hard to say goodbye to all these special places and the wonderful people I've been blessed to spend time with. I'm so thankful for God's many gifts! And I'm looking forward to what He has in store for me next. =)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

"Think And Eat Yourself Smart"

This is the title of Dr. Caroline Leaf's latest book. She is a brilliant neuroscientist whose books and videos have helped me learn so much about healthy living.

Here's a little video of her being interviewed about the content in this book, "Think And Eat Yourself Smart." I think it's very helpful and explains what's happening today.

Please take a few minutes to watch, and then leave me a comment with your thoughts. =)



Thursday, June 15, 2017

Frankincense Oil - A Powerful Tool For Healing

If you already use essential oils, then you probably know what a great tool frankincense oil is for healing.

If you haven't tried essential oils yet, then maybe you'll want to give frankincense oil a try.

I started using it over a year ago, and I'm so thankful for its many benefits!

Frankincense oil has helped my body in several ways - balancing hormones, fighting inflammation, boosting immune system, improving mood, etc.

I don't usually use it everyday because it is a fairly strong oil, and because it does cost more than other oils. So far I haven't ingested it, as some experts advise caution about ingesting essential oils. But using it topically, orally, and diffusing it are all very helpful uses of it. It's a very versatile and effective oil that I'm thankful I can benefit from.

If you are extremely sensitive to any smell at all, then frankincense oil may have too strong of a fragrance for you (event though it's natural). When I had extreme smell sensitivity, I wasn't able to use it. However, now I really enjoy its fragrance.

I encourage you to read this detailed article on the many benefits and uses of frankincense oil, (it also includes recipes for using it in home and skin care products). 

https://draxe.com/what-is-frankincense/

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Goodbye Fabric Softener

I've posted about fabric softener before, but I felt compelled to revisit it again this week. In the last few months I've traveled a lot and stayed in various homes and hotels. I've found that even worse than pesticide or perfume exposure, what bothers me even more is toxic fabric softener. This product contains so many harmful chemicals, including known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). It is mind-boggling to me that anyone still uses this product. But I realize that many people simply don't know what's in it and how dangerous it is. 

If there was ONE change I could convince people to make for their health, it would be - say goodbye to fabric softener (or switch to a natural alternative...see the article below). 

For those of you who understand this issue, please continue to share the facts with others as you have opportunity. And if you've never heard about this, please consider the following information and make an informed decision for your own health and family.

Dangers of Fabric Softener

The facts on fabric softeners are undeniable, yet millions of people still use this dangerous product. 
Some people simply have no idea about the harmful chemicals they're exposing themselves to. Other people ignore the dangers, saying, "I want my clothes to be soft." 
It grieves me to think that anyone would chose "soft" clothes over protecting their families' health from carcinogens, respiratory irritants, chemicals and toxins.
Unfortunately, the people who use fabric softener aren't the only ones who suffer from this unhealthy choice. 
- For years I felt the harmful effects of my neighbor's fabric softener almost daily as it came from her dryer vent through our front and back yards. 
- Many children, who have no idea of the dangers, are wearing toxic clothes laundered with fabric softener. 
- People who work in hospitality industries are exposed to these toxic products daily. 
So if fabric softener is so dangerous, why is it still sold everywhere? Where is regulation, you ask? I can't answer why so many toxic products are still approved for sale, but I can assure you that the research has been done and the facts are clear. 
Fabric softener contains known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), respiratory irritants, toxins that cause nervous system disorders, as well as substances that are listed on the EPA's Hazardous Waste list. 
Fabric softener is a toxic cocktail that becomes even more dangerous when heated, and which is made to last a VERY long time. It absorbs into the skin (through clothes and bedding) and wreaks all kinds of havoc in the body. 
If you know someone with asthma, this is the first change I recommend for them to make. One of my friends said that after quitting using fabric softener, her asthma improved dramatically! Another friend had chronic hives for months, which completely cleared up once he stopped using fabric softener. The list of possible problems from using fabric softener goes on and on, not to mention the long-term effects it has on people.
 
I hope by now I've either convinced you to avoid this harmful product, or inspired you to share the facts with others you know who still use fabric softener.
 
For more information on this topic, here's a helpful article by Dr. Mercola that shares some of the dangers of fabric softener and also lists easy and inexpensive natural alternatives. 
 
There are a lot of unavoidable toxins in our environment. Let's not add anything unnecessarily to that load. Let's keep spreading the word so that more people can make healthy choices and live well.
 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Low-Fat Myth

You've probably noticed that many foods in the grocery store now seem to have a "low-fat" option. Supposedly, less fat is healthier.

This emphasis on "low-fat" everything is actually a myth. In fact, "fat" is a healthy thing, when we understand it properly.

If we look at it logically, foods like dairy products, meat, etc. are naturally full of fat. But today, people take those foods and artificially extract most of the fat from it. Then they call it "healthier" than the original state of the food. Does that sound logical?

For thousands of years people ate food in its naturally occurring form, and they didn't have the strange health conditions that are common today.

The truth is that our bodies need fat. They just need healthy, naturally occurring fats. They don't need man-made fats, such as margarine, hydrogenated oils, etc.

If God created something for us to eat, I think He knew how it was supposed to be in order to be healthy for our bodies.

Healthy fats, such as grass-fed butter, coconut oil, grass-fed beef, etc. are foods that people have consumed for generations. And they have many health benefits.

Basically, when deciding what is a healthy fat or non-healthy fat, we can stick with what God has created, versus what man has manufactured somehow.

The body needs healthy fat for many functions, including the ability to repair itself as well as maintaining a healthy weight.

In my case, after years of health problems my herbalogist actually told me to eat a spoonful of natural ice cream every day. At that point my body had difficulty consuming fat, even though I needed it desperately. So I started with that one spoonful of ice cream, and gradually I was able to start consuming coconut oil, butter, etc. Even now, some days I can feel that I haven't been getting enough healthy fat. Then I'll eat some organic greek yogurt or even a spoonful of coconut oil to get some quick healthy fat. It's amazing how much better I feel when I'm consuming adequate amounts of healthy fat.

If you'd like to read more about this topic, here's an article by Dr. Mercola about healthy fats.
http://www.mercola.com/nutritionplan/beginner_fats.htm

If you have questions, please leave a comment for me. I hope you'll look into this and discover what a great tool healthy fats can be for your health and wellness!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Healing Truth

Today wanted to repost something that I hope will encourage you!

Wisdom and Health

I've been reading through the book of Proverbs again. There's so much wisdom in these ancient sayings. I wanted to share some of them with you today. 

I know some people read a chapter of Proverbs every day, but I've found that to be too much for me to think about at one time. I like to read just one proverb (or a few verses) at a time and then think about it all day long. I encourage you to do that with the following proverbs. Over the next week, choose one to contemplate each day, and let its wisdom plant deep in your soul. 

Blessings,
-Joanna


1) My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. -Prov. 4:20-23

2) Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. -Prov. 3:7-8

3) Reckless words piece like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. -Prov. 12:18

4) A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. -Prov. 14:30

5) The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. -Prov. 15:4

6) A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. -Prov. 15:30

7) Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. -Prob. 16:24


And here's a bonus one:

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers. -Prov. 19:8

Friday, April 21, 2017

God's Glory In The Storm

Hello! I'm sorry I'm a day late with this post. It's been a crazy week with challenges, attacks from the enemy, and God's faithfulness carrying me one moment at a time. I praise God that this week I received my professional coaching certification (for life and health coaching)! I've been working for this for over a year, so it's a huge answer to prayer to have it completed! What an encouragement to see God answer all those months of prayer, while I'm in the midst of other difficult circumstances.

Then today I reread this chapter from my book, "Seeing God Through The Storm," and God reminded me that our storms are not about Satan's attacks against us. Our storms are about God displaying His glory in and through our lives. I know many of you are still going through difficult storms. I hope the following thoughts encourage you and give you courage to keep trusting God day by day. I know He will be glorified in your life. 

Blessings,
-Joanna

 
Legacy

Here we are at the end of the book of Job. Have you found comfort and encouragement from Job’s story? I have. I’d never wish such intense suffering on anyone, but I’m grateful God gave us this record of Job’s experience. Because of what he went through, we’ve learned many precious truths about how to see God in our storms.

We’ve discovered that the LORD is in control, He is good, and He has a purpose for us. We’ve found that we don’t have to be afraid, that God’s love surrounds us, and that His wisdom is perfect. We’ve come to know God as the Healer of our hearts, the Repairer of our broken pieces, and the Restorer of our souls. Above all, we’ve begun to understand that our holy God is gracious beyond measure.

In His grace, God didn’t just restore Job. God also gave Job a valuable legacy from his suffering. Not only was Job’s life changed, but his friends’ lives were changed. All who knew Job were surely impacted as well.  

After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years. -Job 42:16-17

I imagine that Job never stopped telling his grandchildren and great-grandchildren the story of his encounter with God and how it radically altered his life. Now you and I have been affected by his story, too. Undoubtedly Job had no idea of the far-reaching impact his trial would have. But God knew. The Lord allowed Job’s storm both to transform Job’s life and to bless others.

It’s significant that nowhere in the final chapter of Job is Satan mentioned. Isn’t he the one who started all the trouble? Yet at the end of the story, he’s conspicuously absent. I believe that’s because this story is not about Satan at all. It’s about GOD. It’s about what God wanted to do in Job’s life. It’s about the millions of people God wanted to touch through Job’s suffering.

Yes, Satan is real, and he’s always trying to destroy God’s people. At times we may feel overwhelmed by his attacks, but we can have confidence that our trials are not really about Satan’s activity. Our storms are about what God wants to accomplish in us and through us for His glory.

What a beautiful gift it is to know that God has a legacy planned for our trials! A legacy is something that endures, something meaningful that is passed along to others, something precious that remains after the storm and even after we are gone. Can you imagine that God wants to use your suffering to bless other people?

Many times we may feel like we have nothing we can give, nothing we can use to bless others. But we always have grace. After Job’s encounter with God, he was a changed man—on the inside. Externally though, his hands were empty. When God told Job to pray for his friends, He didn’t ask Job to provide the animals for the sacrifices. Job didn’t have any. Job had only one thing to give, the most precious thing God had given him—grace.

Just as God continually floods us with His abundant grace, He will also empower us to give grace away to others.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. -2 Corinthians 9:8

Storms may take our resources, our health, even our relationships, but they cannot take from us the super-abundant grace of God! In light of eternity, the best gift we can give anyone is the gift of grace. We can give grace through forgiveness, prayer, encouraging words, acts of kindness, even a smile. When we extend grace to others, though it seems small, it will eventually have an impact far beyond what we can see now.

I could write a long list of the ways God has used my health trial for His glory. Through my storm, God has encouraged many of my friends. He has blessed people I’ve never met and led at least one person to saving faith in Jesus. Also, if I hadn’t experienced the suffering of the last eight and a half years, I never would have written this book.

God has used my storm not only to heal, transform, and restore me, but also to impact many other lives. And my trial isn’t over! I can’t wait to see what other wonderful blessings God will bring from it.

The legacy God wants to give you from your storm may not be at all what you expect. It may be huge, beyond anything you could imagine (Eph. 3:20). Or it may seem so small that you don’t immediately recognize it. In His perfect way and time, the LORD will reveal His legacy for you.

Job’s marathon trial was finally over. He had experienced horrible suffering, but in the end he saw God in his storm. And his story continues to bless people thousands of years later. Though our trials may not seem as huge or as significant as Job’s, we know God has a purpose for every storm we go through, large or small.

Like Job, we too can leave a legacy for others. Each storm is an opportunity for us to get to know God better—to “see” Him instead of only “hearing” of Him. As our understanding of God’s character and grace expands, our intimacy with Him will deepen. And He will work through us to share His truth and show His grace to others.

As we continue on life’s journey, I pray we’ll learn to see our gracious God in each storm and trust Him to bring about the beautiful legacy He has planned for us.

…No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him— -1 Corinthians 2:9

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Importance Of Probiotics

Spring is in the air! Which means a lot of people are dealing with seasonal allergies, sinus infections, etc. So I thought it was a good time to repost something from a few years ago about probiotics. We all need plenty of good bacteria to keep our immune systems healthy. I hope this information is helpful. =)

Support Bacteria

Recently I read this funny quote: "Support bacteria. It's the only culture some people have." =)

Even though it's meant as a joke, there's a lot of truth in it. We do need to support bacteria.

Right now it seems like most people, doctors, and companies are trying to rid the earth of all bacteria! Practically every product from hand soap to trash bags is now labeled "anti-bacterial."

Newsflash: God created bacteria. It serves a vital role in the earth's natural processes. It isn't going away anytime soon.

I think all this emphasis on "anti-bacterial" is actually very damaging. The bad bacteria are just getting stronger and more resistant to the chemicals and drugs used to kill them. And the good bacteria are being killed off more and more.

Yes, I said GOOD bacteria. Believe it or not, we need bacteria.

Did you know that approximately 80% of your immune system is in your gut (intestines)?

Whenever I used to hear that statistic, I assumed that was the doctor's way of trying to get me to eat healthier. =) But it's much more than just eating a healthy diet.

Can you guess the reason why 80% of the immune system is in the gut?

Because that's where the GOOD bacteria live!

Think of the good bacteria as the cowboys in the white hats, and the bad bacteria as the rustlers in the black hats. Good guys verses bad guys. When the bad bacteria enters our bodies, it's the good bacteria that's able to fight it off. The good bacteria also fights viruses, candida, and other invaders.

If there's not enough of the good guys in our bodies, then we're in trouble.

Because the good bacteria is such a huge part of the immune system, not having enough can cause all kinds of health problems. This includes everything from digestive problems to many things you wouldn't expect, such as: arthritis, chronic fatigue, skin problems, allergies, etc.

Certain foods are rich in good bacteria - saurkraut, yogurt, and other fermented foods. However, it's hard to eat enough of these foods to get all the good bacteria you need. (Not to mention that most brands of yogurt contain more sugar than ice cream! Eating yogurt in order to get good bacteria isn't worth the trade off of the sugar damage, unless it's plain and unsweetened yogurt.)

So it's important to supplement with good bacteria.
 
There are various factors to consider when purchasing a "probiotic" (good bacteria) supplement.

Some things to look for -
*at least 5 different strains of bacteria (not just "acidophilus").
*a total culture count of at least 15 billion
*delayed release so it will reach your intestines before being broken down
*full potency until date of expiration
*no extra ingredients or additives (such as no corn, soy, yeast, etc.)

A lot of probiotic supplements do not meet these standards, so always read labels to find a good one. Also, what your body needs will change over time, so it's good to switch the kind of probiotic you take after a while.

Having plenty of good bacteria in your body is essential to the function of your immune system and thus, your overall health. It's an easy step to take that could possibly yield amazing results in how you feel.

Remember it takes time for your body to repair and heal itself. When starting a new supplement or program keep this in mind. With some supplements/programs you'll see results faster, but for major improvements in your health, three months is a general rule of thumb.

So go find some good bacteria and give it your support. You'll be amazed how much it supports you and your health in return! =)