Faith Family Health and Wellness

Pandemic Celebrations: Different, but Good

This past Sunday was my 42nd birthday. Normally, my husband and I go to downtown Chicago for an overnight and enjoy the city and great restaurants, but this year…COVID. I missed that time with him, but my birthday was still great. If anything, having a birthday close to Christmas makes you pretty flexible about celebrations.

My family loves to celebrate birthdays and my parents always did a great job of making me feel special and that my birthday was separate from Christmas. But, as I grew up and became an adult, I knew that finding time to celebrate my birthday among the Christmas rush was difficult and the chance of celebrating on the actual day was rare. 

Enter COVID. For one of the first times in a long time, my birthday was free and there were no parties to rush off to or events to crowd our days! The pandemic meant no getaway to the city, BUT I celebrated my birthday with my parents on Saturday, relaxed and had dinner out with my husband on Sunday (my actual birthday), treats and greetings from staff and students at work on Monday, and then a birthday lunch with a dear friend on Tuesday! At what is typically the busiest time of the year for everyone has become a weeklong birthday celebration for me. 🙂

2020 has been a rough year that has had a lot of disappointments. But just like the fact that my birthday didn’t get overshadowed by Christmas parties this year, there are plenty of positives to find in this pandemic season. Perhaps this year, with the extra time around the holidays, you can find more time to rest, enjoy your family, and remember the true reason for the season.

Chemical-free Health and Wellness

Starting Your Chemical-Free Journey

About seven years ago, I began my journey to remove harmful chemicals from my life and home. Our health is affected by what we put in our body and on our body. A lot of products we used are filled with harmful chemicals that can mess with how our body functions and grows. This is a short list of some of my favorite chemical-free products. Try them out for yourself and start feeling better!

1. Skincare

Did you know that it only takes a few seconds for what you put on your skin to be absorbed into your blood stream? Typical skincare products have tons of harmful ingredients added to them (to preserve it, etc.). My favorite skin care is USANA’s Celavive line. USANA is known for have it’s purity and potency guarantee in all of their products, including the Celavive line. Using patented Incelligence technology, the products help your body regenerate healthy cells and reduce the signs of aging and oxidation. You can check out the whole line here.

2. Make-up

Just like skincare, our make-up has tons are harmful ingredients. I have switched all my make-up over to Beautycounter. Not only do they work great, but they are safe as well. Another great thing about Beautycounter is that their founder is an advocate for cleaner beauty and constantly meets with Congress about putting in stronger restrictions with personal care products, so that less harmful chemicals are being used. You can check out their products here.

3. Deodorant

We all want to smell great and look great, but did you know that most deodorants contain aluminum and adversely affect your lymph nodes (which are located by your armpits)? Switching to natural deodorant can feel daunting at first, because most people are worried about wet spots or smelling. There is a detoxification period, but I find that I’m less wet under my armpits that I was prior to switching to safe deodorant. There are a variety of good ones out there (and I’ve even made my own in the past), but the one I love the best is the Aromaco bar from Lush Cosmetics — it works great, has a neutral smell, lasts for about six months and is affordable. You can find it here or any local Lush store.

4. House Cleaning 

I don’t need to tell you about all the chemicals in your cleaning products — you can smell them all around you! And if the product is telling you to have good ventilation when using…pretty much means there are some nasty chemicals. Did you know that you can actually clean your house and remove germs without bleach and chemicals? I’m a big fan of Norwex products. Their cleaning cloths and mops are amazing and you just your WATER to clean! What?! I know crazy. You can learn more about their products here

5. Laundry 

Do you use dryer sheets (Bounce) to reduce static cling? Those sheets are filled with harmful chemicals! My favorite alternative are wool dryer balls from Norwex. They reduce static cling and fluff your items without the harmful chemicals. You can check them out here.

6. Supplements 

We’ve talked a lot about what you put ON your body, but it’s incredibly important what you put IN your body. From eating healthy and organic vegetable and fruits to consuming grassfed beef, the quality is so important. Same goes for supplements. Yes, you need to take supplements to THRIVE (a discussion for another time) and the quality is SO important. USANA has both a purity and potency guarantee and my family and I have been trusting them for the past six year. Check out here why they are are gold standard for supplements. 

“The Healthy Home” by Dr. Myron Wentz 

Finally, if you are looking for a great book about transforming your house into a chemical-free space, you need to read “The Healthy Home”. Dr. Myron Wentz is the founder of USANA and winner of numerous awards, including the Albert Einstein award. In the book he walks room by room through a house and give example of way to reduce the harmful chemicals around you and create a healthy home. You can find it here.

I hope that this gives you some ways to create a healthy and chemical-free life. Start small with just one area and them slowly make changes. Reach out to me if you need to more ideas or help. 🙂

Faith Health and Wellness Parenting

Perfect In His Eyes

I struggle with body image issues. I always have. Maybe it’s because I grew before everyone else and was taller and bigger. In elementary school, I was never thin…just normal. Maybe it’s because I always preferred to play sports with the boys and could never quite figure out where I fit in. I’ve been torn between wanting a fierce, athletic look and being model thin — you can’t have both. In fifth grade, I lost 12lbs and all my baby fat. I’ve remained thin and fit ever since. I still weigh the same as I did in high school even though I’m now in my 40s and have had two children. Yet why do I only see the imperfections in the mirror?

And the hard part is that I can’t talk about it. For real. Not because I don’t want to or feel ashamed, but because sharing those thoughts when I look great might make someone feel less about themselves. And I would never want to make anyone feel less. My joy is helping people accept who they are and develop a correct mindset of what health is — that it’s not just about how you look in a swimsuit. It is my passion to work with people and help them…probably because I’m constantly trying to preach it to myself as well. 

When my daughter was born, I vowed to never talk about weight/image and I started showing grace to myself. I never want her or my son to have my issues. Today, as my daughter was crying that her skirt (she wears a uniform) felt funny and was afraid she looked weird, instead of brushing her off and telling her that she looks the same as every day she goes to school (which is what I normally do), I got down to her level and told her that I understand. That there are days that I don’t feel good in the clothes that I’m wearing and I also worry that I look bad. Then I told her what makes her special and hugged her.

I can’t keep my daughter from the onslaught of the world to look a certain way, but instead of avoiding the issue, I need to talk through hers with her. And maybe it’s time for me to be honest to everyone else. Maybe sharing my body image struggles won’t make someone feel bad, but make them realize that they are not alone.

I’m constantly a work in progress and each day I remind myself that I have a husband who adores me just as I am and I have a God who loves me and cares for me. I pray that God would give me eyes to see myself as he sees me. That I am perfect in his eyes.

God loves you too. He sees you, He cares for you, and you are perfect in His eyes.