You are what you eat. The coined saying that has been a topic of heated discussion over the last few decades. In our home, we believe that the foods we eat have a direct result on the quality of our health and wellness. It's not easy to decipher what you shouldn't nourish yourself with these days, so I've had to do some of my own research and just make decisions that work for our family. It's important to just learn to pay closer attention to how you feel. Are you bloated every time you eat? Do you kids have rashes and behavioral problems? Do you have chronic fatigue and anxiety? Many people don't realize that many of their health concerns can be resolved with just a cleaner and healthier diet!
The key for us is actually very simple,
+ eat more raw foods: we eat 80% whole and organic foods, if this doesn't align with your family food budget, see if there are some areas you can cut back so you can feed yourselves nourishing meals to avoid illness. When it comes to meat, we always buy organic, pasture raised and local meats and eggs. We just eat way less of it so that our bank account and our environment don't suffer!
+ drink more water: we avoid flavored drinks like juice and soda, and I definitely avoid tap water that has flouride and chlorine added to it. While those chemicals do have a purpose to kill off certain harmful bacteria, they are not friends of our guts or our skin and are usually void of all the trace minerals we need to thrive. We have a high quality reverse osmosis water system and we add in trace minerals (thrive market) to get that good stuff!
+ no dairy home: My grandparents always used to tell me that milk is needed for strong bones. Once I entered my adult life and we grew into this current age of information I did my own researching and decided that's just simply not true. The dairy counsel of America is actually behind the literature that is published and provided to schools and doctors and is extremely biased. I also realized that as a mother that was nursing my infant, that it was no different than me suckling on a cows milk as an adult and I made the connection, we don't need it. This includes yogurt and cheese too, trust me on this, it's likely one of the major contributing factors to the inflammation you might be experiencing on many levels. Yes, on occasion we eat a meal that has some dairy, but its definitely not an everyday staple.
+ going gluten free: luckily for us, this trend has grown so much that there are tons of options out there. That doesn't mean I'm suggesting you go out and assume if it says gluten free its healthy. But, if you truly need a cracker or some bread or something in that category for a meal you're making, then there are some great alternatives that greatly reduce your chances of chronic gut inflammation.
If you need help with stocking your pantry with healthy and wholesome foods, feel free to check out my free guide HERE!
My favorite resources:
The Dirty Dozen
The Clean Fifteen
Oh She Glows - Vegan Recipes
Our entire family uses supplements. My husband and I were never "vitamin lovers" before having kids tho, so I'll share with you here some of the reasons why we do now and what we choose to take!
Why supplement?? Recent reports have shown that you'd have to consume 21 oranges today to get the same amount of Vitamin A that we did just 60 years ago. Our top soil has been so depleted from big ag spraying and fertilizers that the amount of nutrients that are available in our common grocery store products is also suffering. The good news is, a lot of locally grown organic produce is still providing the good stuff, but generally speaking we have noticed significant benefit to supplementing to ensure we are staying healthy as much as possible.
Here's what we supplement:
Paige (5) & Rosie (2) take 3 supplements almost every single day -
+ A2Z Chewable: this is a strawberry melon whole food supplement that they love! It ensures they are getting all the vital nutrients and even cellular and antioxidant boosts that are very much lacking in todays food supply system, especially if you have pick eaters! They help improve brain function, provide stable energy and ensure their growing body is thriving!
+ IQmega: not your basic fish oil, this is guaranteed to be mercury free and is sourced from high quality sources and blended with wild orange essential oil so it tastes great! This liquid supplement helps improve brain function and keep their immune system strong too!
+ PBAssist Jr: Our kids go nuts for this! It's strawberry-melon flavored, no sugar and helps replenish and encourage healthy gut bacteria with specific strains that children need. The biggest factor when choosing a probiotic is that it wont get killed off by the gut before it can make it to the GI tract, which is why I think this one has worked so well for us. It's double encapsulated and will be able to handle the gut acid and has significantly reduced our tummy issues, and helps keep the girls skin clear from common things like eczema and rashes.
If you'd like to learn more about these probiotics and how you can get them for your own kiddos, feel free to send me an email or find me on social media and I can help get you started!
+ Vitamin D3: no matter what we do, we know it's likely we are somewhat deficient in Vitamin D. Our pediatrician, whom we LOVE has recommended we give the girls a few drops of her favorite brand each day. I will say it seems like even when everyone around us is dropping like flies, our kids seem to avoid illness most of the time or if they pick something up, it doesn't last long and severity is milder than others. We use the brand OrthoMolecularProducts.
Me (31) & Hubby (40) take these supplements -
+ Life Long Vitality Program: a 3 part system, these supplements are the very foundation that keep us healthy and strong year round. LLV changed my life. It brought me out of extremely deep Post Partum Depression after my first baby was born and has helped Dane with his severe anxiety struggles too. The program includes these three formulas: Microplex vMZ, whole food nutrients that are bioavailable for all of your vitamins and minerals, xEO mega, a marine grade omega supplement that supports a healthy heart and brain as well as reduces inflammation levels (this one has 9 essential oils in it that also greatly improve your immune system!), and AlphaCRS+, a blend of highly potent antioxidants and cellular boosting ingredients that will get you that energy, vitality and optimum function you may have been missing. You can read more in depth about LLV here, but honestly I don't know anyone who wouldn't benefit from it!
+ TerraZyme: a plant powered digestive enzyme. We take this supplement usually 2-3 times per day. I generally take it with each meal or with my LLV pack to ensure my body can break down, digest and absorb the nutrients I'm needing. I try to only take these enzymes when I've eaten solid foods as our body does naturally produce a good supply when its healthy, but as we age our digestive enzymes rapidly decrease so they do come in handy often!
+ PB Assist: This is our probiotic. I usually take 2 at night right before bed for the first 10 days of the month. I do believe that when we eat well our body can maintain and heal itself, but I have a chronic history of skin problems and gut inflammation so I take this to ensure I'm boosting my GI system with beneficial bacteria a flushing it in there once a month. My skin has never looked better, and TMI but my husband and I have both agreed our poop isn't as stinky too!
+ Phytoestrogens: This is a supplement I take only when I'm on my period. Since having two children and experiencing extreme hormone fluctuations no longer being on birth control, I needed something to support me naturally. This supplement benefits women with high or low estrogens by balancing them out on either end, which is crazy helpful during your cycle! I notice a significant decrease in my irritability and pms symptoms! Gotta have it!
+ Collagen: this is something we don't take daily, but on occasion I'll add some Vital Proteins collagen to our smoothies. Collagen is very helpful for protecting the gut lining and decreases chances of leaky gut syndrome. I'm personally not a huge fan of massive amounts of animal consumption so I probably add a scoop to my drink 2-3 times a week at most, but it does keep me full for a while and I have good energy when I drink it!
We do have a few other supplements we take on an as needed basis, so if you'd like to learn more about them, feel free to follow me on IG @thenestessentials and you'll likely see them discussed when I'm using them!
If you'd like to get your own set of any of the supplements I've mentioned here, you'll be able to find them in my shop, just click this link and it will take you there!
I have a deep found love for my essential oils. This is probably the one thing aside from diet and supplementing nutrition that I fully believe can change the course of someones life.
I'm not going to get too deep into oils on this page, because it would be impossible to do so, but I'll share at least the super basic outline of what oils are, why they work and why we chose to bring dōTERRA specifically into our home
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are highly volatile organic compounds that are extracted from the roots, bark, seeds, petals and leaves of plants. These oils are essential (clue to the name here) to the plants health and vital wellness. They nourish the plant as well as protect it from environmental threats and disease. They can also attract pollenators who are beneficial to keep the plant thriving. These essential oils can be extracted by two main methods; steam distillation or cold pressed and then bottled to be used for our own benefit.
How do essential oils work?
Since plant cells and human cells are actually quite similar, we can also benefit in many ways from essential oils just like plants do. They key reason why they are extremely potent is because they are highly concentrated when used in this form and when they are pure they are extremely complex and can be made up of hundreds of different constituents that prevent resistance in the human body. We are now able to see specific pathways in which oils travel and disperse throughout the human body and it's absolutely fascinating to see how powerful these little plant molecules can be! Essential oils are also lipid soluble, so they easily absorb into our skin and can flow freely through the blood stream and even penetrate cell walls where things like viruses and more serious threats can take shape. This means essential oils are effective and beneficial on a cellular level and it's why we are seeing such amazing results and testimonials for millions of people thus far.
How do you use them?
There are three main ways to use essential oils: aromatic, topical, and internal. It's important to understand that not all essential oils out there are safe to use in these three ways and some should be avoided altogether. Here's a brief overview of the three uses:
+ Aromatic: essential oil molecules are extremely small. Therefore just opening the bottle and inhaling the scent will produce beneficial effects on the human body and the brain. Aromatic use is best for emotional support, respiratory support and cleansing the air and home environment with something like a diffuser.
+ Topical: best used for acute and localized discomfort, essential oils can be diluted with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil and massaged into the body for many benefits! You can also apply them along the spine, soles of feet and to pulse points for rapid absorption into the bloodstream for overall health. It takes about 20 mins for a single drop of essential oil to effect every single cell in the body! So, less is more!
+ Internal: this category definitely only applies to cptg essential oils! That being said, internal use can be very beneficial to the organs and can help gently detoxify and support our body from the inside out! You can either add 1 drop of approved essential oils in a glass of water, add them to your favorite recipe, or take them in a veggie cap to experience full body support and healing.
How do you know where to buy them?
A hot topic for sure, but honestly I feel lucky that I was introduced to doTERRA back in 2014. I didn't even know there were other essential oil companies that existed and I experienced massive transformation in my wellness routine from day one. Today, however, there are tons of oil companies popping up all over the place including big brand box retailers like Target and craft stores and I find it my responsibility to share with you why you should avoid those at all costs!
Essential oils are precious. They need to be sourced from healthy and thriving plants, sustainably and unharmed in the process from harvesting all the way to bottling and distribution. The brokerage and perfume industry has a dark history and reputation for altering, diluting and even destroying parts of the world where our incredible plant materials are growing. When I chose doTERRA, I didn't realize I was not just buying an oil that would help my family, but that it would be a domino effect and impact tens of thousands of lives in the process. doTERRA is so committed to purity and potency that they are one of the only companies currently willing to offer their full testing results to the public. There have also been blind studies by third party labs who have confirmed doTERRA is one of the only sources who has no traces of adultered or fake oils on the market.
If you're like me and want to trust and stand behind the company you give your hard earned dollars to, I suggest you look more into doTERRA and feel free to join our movement by getting started with me as your advocate!
Here are some awesome links where you can learn more about why I chose dōTERRA:
Healing Hands Foundation
Why sourcing matters
Third party lab results: doterra is pure