Panaway to Soothe Away Sore Muscles

17 - Panaway

Do you live in an area that has been affected by the ice storms?  Are your back and shoulders sore from breaking up all that ice?  If so, help is on the way in the form of Panaway essential oil blend!!!  This is a great oil to use for soothing muscles after outdoor activities or a workout session! Not only does it work great, but it has an amazing wintergreen scent.

Best way to use Panaway for sore muscles:  combine a drop of Panaway with a few drops of carrier oil (such as coconut or jojoba oil, but not vegetable or canola oil) and soothe it over the area that needs attention!  Repeat as often as needed!

One of the things I like about this oil different from Deep Relief (wish is a great oil for occasional pain as well) is that Panaway includes Helichrysum. Helichrysum is known for helping to increase circulation to the site of application, reduce scarring, control bleeding, improve hearing, as well as reducing pain! This is a great oil blend especially when you consider all the things that helichrysum can do.

#365DaysOfOils

Things have been quiet here, but…. I’M BACK!!

Hello all!!  I know that I haven’t been here sharing with you much lately.  I feel like I fell off the proverbial wagon of good health last fall when life got hectic with fall sports and I have stayed in my rut all winter.  Although I was in a rut, I am pleased that I have maintained my weight over the last 6 months!!  However, spring is finally here (the weather has seemed a bit confused at times though – LOL!) and I am motivated to get back on track and excited to start getting healthy with all of you again!

Here’s my plan moving forward:
1.  I am making a fitness challenge for myself each month and anyone is welcome to join in.  Be watching tomorrow for my May challenge!
2.  In addition to my personal fitness challenge, my oldest two daughters want to run our local Seaway Run this year and want me to run with them.  I agreed to do it but must admit that I have never run before so this will be quite an undertaking for me!!!  I am planning to follow the “Couch to 5k” training plan.  It’s just a short 8 weeks until the run so I need to get training!!  Considering that spring soccer and baseball are in full swing, this will definitely be something that I will need to stay committed to and have a plan to get it done every day!!  I don’t want to let my girls down!
3.  I will be improving my eating habits again.  I shared last year that I determined that my nutritional type is “protein” ( I get energized when I eat meat) (curious what your nutritional type is, check out this link).  So I will be returning my focus to protein and veggies as well as keeping my carbs in check.  This worked well for helping me lose about 20 lbs last summer, so I am hoping to drop at least another 20 this summer too!!

I will be doing regular check-ins for accountability on my FB page (www.Facebook.com/StraitToHealth).  If you would like to join me on my journey and/or would also like a place to check-in for accountability, I would love to do that with you through my page!!

How I Kicked My Antidepressants to the Curb…

I have been thinking about this post for a while, but I feel VERY compelled to share it today… not sure why today, but I will follow the leading of the Spirit!I almost hate to blog about this because there is such a stigma about antidepressants.  It is almost as if you are a “lesser” person if you need to use and actually take antidepressants; it is as if you are weak or just unwilling to “suck it up” through your circumstances.  I don’t think that is the case; I believe that antidepressants area a tool to help a person manage through a difficult time.  I don’t place any judgments on people who take antidepressants and I hope that you do not judge me for what I am going to share.

Hello, my name is Amy Strait and I have been on prescription antidepressants on and off for over eleven years; yes, you read that right, eleven (11) years.  Here’s my story:  My oldest daughter is nearly 13 years old and I suffered some pretty severe post-partum depression after she was born.  I didn’t seek medical help nor take an antidepressant then because I was way too proud to admit that I needed help.  In my mind I thought, “Medication is for the weak; I am not weak!  I will push through this.”  I did push through but I was pretty miserable both to myself and to my husband and new daughter.  I got pregnant for my second child when my oldest was just 9 months old and I was an overwhelmed, emotional mess.  At every appointment with my OB/GYN, he would ask me if I wanted an antidepressant.  I always declined.  Finally, near the end of my pregnancy, I just couldn’t deal with my anxiety anymore and decided to see if an antidepressant would work for me.  Much to my surprise, I felt like myself again!  WOW!!  Amazing!  I’m not sure how long I took them, but I did eventually wean off of them after my second daughter was born and I was through the post-partum depression stage.

Through my next three pregnancies, I pretty much repeated the pattern:  antidepressants during end of pregnancy and through the post-partum depression stage.  However, after my fifth child was born (five kids in eight years), I was having a very hard time weaning off of the antidepressants.  I tried to quit taking it but I was an angry, emotional mess each time I tried.  I was on a relatively low dose but I just couldn’t quit taking them.  That really frustrated me!  When I got pregnant with my sixth child, I was still taking the antidepressants and have continued straight through until just recently (she is now three years old).  I have tried MANY times to cut back of them in an attempt to quit taking them, but I was never successful.  What had once helped me was now taking my joy away!  I felt like a slave to those pills.  I knew that I wouldn’t be a nice, happy mom and wife if I didn’t take my pill at night.  I didn’t like it at all!!

Recently some things changed in my life that have made me more equipped to quit taking antidepressants.  First, I started feeling the need to get healthier.  Through 13 years of being pregnant and/or nursing nearly the entire time, I was a tired, sleep-deprived mom and I had given in to soda/pop to help keep up my energy… and I drank a lot of it.  I was also a carb/sugar addict, so I also consumed a lot of sugary, processed foods in an attempt to feed myself quickly while taking care of many little ones.  Over the course of 10 years, I put on nearly 50 lbs.  It was time to take charge of my health again.  I turned 44 this year and it seems like an epiphany year for me.  I have come to realize and understand so many things about myself this year.  Getting healthier and taking control of things in my life just seem the right thing to do…

The second thing that changed was that we started using Young living essential oils.  We have been trying to make some healthier changes such as eliminating many processed foods from out diet, cutting way back on fast food, and eliminating chemical cleaners from our home.  We knew that we wanted to keeping going along that path and changing out our over-the-counter medications and some of our general health and beauty products with more natural ones (including essential oils) just seemed the right thing to do.  I knew that the essential oils could help with my occasional bouts of depression, I just had to figure out how.

Fast forward to today, Sunday, July 27th.  I am pleased to announce that I have successfully weaned myself off of antidepressants and have not taken any since Monday, July 7th!!  Here is what I attribute this success to (I can’t say if all of these things were necessary but I have to believe that they have all worked together):

1.  I dramatically decreased the amount of sugar and carbs that I eat.  I once considered myself a carb-a-holic.  However, I started cutting back when I realized that foods high in sugar and carbs were also really high in calories and I was trying to keep my calories down.  Then I realized how much better I felt when I wasn’t eating those foods.  (There is a lot of research that shows how excess sugar and carbs in one’s diet can contribute to depression; obviously there is truth to it, at least in my case it is.)

2.  I am exercising!  I am amazed at how much better I feel (energized even) after I have exercised.  Those endorphins that are created when you exercise are amazing!!  Gotta love those happy hormones!!  WOOHOO!!

3.  I don’t drink pop anymore (I guess that goes with cutting back on sugar), but this was a big deal for me!  I haven’t had any pop in nearly 9 weeks (not that I’m counting) and I no longer crave it!! :-)

4.  When all else seems to not be working and I find that mean/edgy mom/wife start to creep in on me, I lean on my essential oils to get me through.  I can take a drop each of the Joy and Peace & Calming essential oil blends and put it on my wrists and over my heart; I would also inhale each from the bottle just to give the essential oils a jump start into my system.  If I am feeling angry, I also use a little Purification essential oil blend.

I am glad that I am no longer taking the antidepressants because I am glad to be off medications!  One positive side effect to not taking the meds anymore is that I feel like I have my emotions back.  While taking the antidepressants, I felt emotionally “flat”.  Now, I cry when a friend sends me a sweet, encouraging note on Facebook or when I see a tear-jerker movie or video clip; and I feel more able to sympathize with a sick or injured kiddo.  I am just generally happier and seem to laugh more as well.  It also seems like other people are friendlier as well (LOL!).  :-)   I feel like a person again and not a “mom zombie.”

I have no negative feelings towards antidepressants or people who need to take them. I think they are a good tool to help people who are in a difficult place in life.  I just want to encourage anyone who feels like they are stuck taking them because they have been unable to just “wean” themselves off, that there are things you can do to reduce or eliminate your dependence upon them.  I hope that my story can give someone else the hope they need on their journey with antidepressants!

** Added note to those that may wonder, I did NOT stop taking my antidepressants “cold turkey” (that is dangerous, don’t do it!).  I slowly weaned myself. I was taking a daily dose of 50mg, then went to 50mg on odd days and 25mg (half of a 50mg pill) on the even days and did this for a couple weeks, then I went to 25mg (half of a 50mg pill) every day and did this for a couple weeks, then I went to 25 mg (half of a 50mg pill) every other day for a little while, and finally I just quit.

*** What I shared here is not meant to be medical advise to anyone, it is merely my story.  You should consult your own physician or medical professional to help you make decisions that are appropriate for your situation.

The Secret to REAL, Lasting Energy!!

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WOW!!  I think I have finally figured out the secret to real, lasting energy!!  While what I share here is not likely earth shattering to some, but it was really shocking to me!I have had times in my life when I struggled to have the energy that I needed in order to be a functioning human being.  Early in adulthood, I worked an hour away from home and had to be to work BY 8 am (for those that know me personally, I know you just fell on the floor laughing but you can get up now! :-)  ); I tried to drink coffee for a caffeine boost but didn’t like the taste of the coffee.  I tried to mask the taste of the coffee with creamer and sugar, but still didn’t like the taste and all I really got was a sugar and caffeine buzz that quickly wore off and left me looking for the next “pick-me-up”.   Later as a full-time student and full-time employee, I tried drinking pop/soda, even the stuff that was supposed to REALLY pump you up, well that too left me looking for the next buzz.  Then, as a tired mom, I also sought out something to bolster my ever dwindling energy; I still sought out pop/soda (a local gas station had the BEST fountain pop ever, so it was easy to indulge) but I also eagerly added high-sugar, high-carb foods that tasted so yummy; however, none of these gave me the long-lasting boost I needed either.  I am sure that many of you can relate to my quest; just watch TV and you’ll see a bunch of commercials for energy drinks, etc. so I am obviously not alone!

Fast forward to my recent quest to get healthier… I have mentioned in earlier posts that I figured out early on in this journey that foods high in carbs and sugar added a lot of calories but weren’t necessarily filling.  I gave up on those foods and started eating more veggies and meat (I figured out that I am a “protein” nutrition type and that I had actually been following a paleo diet; if you would like to figure out your nutrition type, check out this post), and I found that I actually felt better… a lot better!!  So, my not-necessarily-earth-shattering revelation is that real, lasting energy comes from…. (wait for it)…… REAL FOOD!!!  When you eat real food it gives your body real nutrition, and then your body actually has the energy it needs to help you get through your day!  Yes, you will still get tired at the end of the day and you still be tired if you stay up too late and/or get up too early, but if you are feeding your body correctly, it will be much easier for your body to get you through your day.

I have had a few days lately where I have not eaten as well as I know that I should.  And guess what, I have not had the energy I have needed to do my nightly walk and have not had the energy to fight off whatever sickness my kids are passing around.  I even indulged in a seemingly innocent piece of birthday cake… well, let me tell you that one piece of birthday cake was enough to “take me down”; I haven’t had that many carbs and sugar all at one time in a LONG time and my body revolted!!  Let’s just say that I won’t be making that mistake again any time soon!!

So, my recommendation to anyone who feels that they are lacking in the energy they need to get through the day is to consider your diet.  If you eat lots of carbs and sugar, you are likely not fueling your body the way you should; consider making the change to real food – veggies, fruit, meat, and some high-quality grains, I can nearly guarantee that within a short time you, too, will be feeling more energized too!  ….Food for thought!


July 2014 Recap

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Well, I am another month further into my journey to get healthy.   Here is a recap of my successes and struggles:

I am pleased to say that I am continuing to make progress!!  I am learning a lot about myself and about health and nutrition in general.  I wish that my numbers were going down faster, but when I realize that I have seen this progress in less than 2 months and that I have had some “oops moments” during that time, I think I am doing pretty good!  I know that I am doing better than if I had never started at all!   Also, some of my clothes are getting baggy so I know that I am making progress!

Let’s start with the numbers:
6/11/2014        8/1/2014    Progress
Weight:                            217 lbs.        205 lbs.        -12 lbs.
Upper arm                        15″               14.5″            -0.5″
Abs (at fullest point)   45.5″              41”              -4.5″
Waist                               44″                42″              -2.0″
Hips                                 50.5″             48”              -2.5″
Thigh                               27.5″             26.5”            -1.0″

And here is my official picture for August 1, 2014


As far as successes and struggles, here’s what I know:

  1. It is important to keep the fridge stocked with healthy food!  If I don’t have healthy choices then I make really bad choices!  I think I am going to budget my grocery dollars a little differently so that I know I have cash on hand to make regular produce purchases!!
  2. When I eat too many carbs and/or sugar I just don’t feel well!  I used to eat so much of it before that I am surprised that I felt well at all.  I really don’t know how I survived so long eating crummy food!  I wish I had started this sooner and hope that I can be a good example for my kiddos!
  3. I LOVE MEAT!!  I just feel better when I eat meat!  Veggies are good, but veggies alone do not satisfy me.  Carbs and sugar are bad and they certainly do not satisfy me!  I feel satisfied and energized when I have had good meat for dinner!  I especially LOVE steak!
  4. I still struggle to get enough water to drink.  I am trying different strategies to drink enough, but I am still not drinking as much as I should!
  5. I have also found that I need to PLAN my exercise.  On days when I know that I will be busy in the evening, I need to plan to get my walk or other exercise in earlier in the day.

Well, that’s my recap for this month!  I am looking forward to seeing my numbers continue to drop.  :-)  My goal this month is to break through the 200 lb. barrier (I am shooting for 195 lbs. by the end of August).  You may have also seen that I have accepted a challenge from trainer Tiffani Allamon of Lubbock, TX to do 50 miles in August (see this blog post for the details).  You can follow my progress weekly on FB to see how I am doing on this challenge.  I would also love to have you join me!! 

Until next time… stay healthy my friends!!  :-)