All posts by Brittney Jane

Organic vs. Conventional Coffee

My morning always starts with a cup of coffee, followed by 2 or 3 until lunch. I never worried about what was in my coffee or anything I exposed myself to until recently. I work in the cancer field and have seen an increasing in number of younger patients coming in for treatment. While a certain % of that can be attributed to better medical testing and advancements I strongly believe there is more to the problem. We consistently poison ourselves on a daily basis. Today’s post is simple about one small cup you may not realize contains a shit ton of known carcinogens, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides – your morning coffee!

If you choose to drink any brand or brew of coffee you will be exposing yourself to some level of toxins as the roasting process causes the release of acrylamide a known toxin which can play a role in your cancer risk based on levels in your diet! So yes, in a perfect world you probably should steer clear of coffee all together, but I just can’t do that, rather than quit cold turkey, I decided to minimize my toxin level exposure by switching over to organic grown coffee.

Now I say switched over, because I in the beginning I still drank my other coffee I hadn’t finished yet and also grabbed coffee from the cafeteria at work frequently. But after about two weeks of going organic I could taste the difference in the conventional coffee, and it is nasty! It is truly amazing how easily we don’t realize the things we are putting into our bodies until we remove them, and can then tell what they were doing! The taste difference in the coffee really made me wonder and think why did it taste so different? The answer is in the growing, harvesting and brewing of the coffee beans!

Conventional Coffee

Regular coffee beans, like the ones used in your Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts coffee, are harvested in an effort to maximize profits. Rain forest vegetation is removed to create room for coffee crops, and in doing this the environment’s ecosystem is effected causing less nutrients in the soil and more pests and insects in the area. The lack of soil nutrients means less benefits of minerals like B vitamins and magnesium. The increase of insects calls for the use of pesticides and chemicals, and we are not talking a small amount, we are talking tons of chemicals used to ensure maximum production and no care as to the person who will be drinking the cup on the other end. These chemicals not only poison us but are washed away into the soil and environment of the local people and animals also exposing an entire second group of people.

Organic Coffee

So you may think that organic coffee is expensive, and depending on where you buy it from, it can be. But there are also affordable and in some cases even less expensive organic coffee options. Haven’t you ever went to Starbucks? There is a reason they may cost a little more, because a profit isn’t the main reason for harvesting, organic coffee farms only yield about half the harvest a regular coffee farm would produce. For this reason in order to produce a profit they may need to charge a little more. But can I tell you, healthcare bills later on from consistent daily exposure to the toxins readily available will cost you much more in the end. You get what you pay for. When you shop organic, you not only save yourself but you also help to minimize environmental pollution.

Try It Yourself

Don’t take my word for it, try an organic brand of coffee for a couple weeks, then go back and try your usual brand and I promise you will taste the difference!  Need an amazing flavor brand to try? Check out Organic Coffee This is my favorite place to get all my healthy living supplies! Fill out a contact form for any questions or additional information and comment below when you’ve tried organic for yourself!

 

Healthy Living

My love of essential oils has really helped me to understand the importance of choosing a healthy lifestyle. The basic understanding of how an essential oil affects an individual cell really can help you to understand why it is vital to every aspect of your life to choose health and wellness.

Each cell in your body is either given the nutrients it’s needs or is not. When you lack eating proper nutrition or taking daily supplements to provide your body with what it needs you are creating a deficiency within your cells and can cause malfunction. While I am a realist and struggle daily with proper nutrition it is a battle worth fighting and continuing to improve. Our society is set up to distract us constantly, fast food, television, the internet(this is a double-edged sword), but keep in mind the  majority of people do not feel well, are not at a desired weight, feel tiered by noon, do not want to wake up in the morning, are battling preventable diseases. So if you do what the majority are doing then expect similar results. Want change like I do? Then make different decisions.

I may not make the right choice every day, but with consistent effort I make better choices today than I did yesterday, and that is progress. So let’s talk about what these better choices are based off of. So basically if you don’t need it don’t put it into or on your body, this includes breathing chemicals in. Every choice may not be perfect, like I just indulged in processed very yummy cinnamon rolls! I am not going to never eat things I enjoy, that defeats the purpose of feeling well and enjoying life. However I need to make more positive choices than negative ones to keep the scale tipped. Earlier today my family stopped at a fast food chain, I chose to have a salad and water over a bacon cheeseburger and soda I wanted. You can choose to expose your body to chemicals found in our everyday lives, or you can begin to educate yourself on what you are coming into contact with and make informed decisions on how to improve and maintain your health, because no one benefits from your health but plenty of industries will benefit from your disease. That is why I will be expanding the concept of this site to help inspire those who read it to make better decisions in their lives, educate them on health and wellness through essential oil use among other ideas, and to share my own experiences living out this lifestyle myself and how it has affected me personally. So I invite you to join me in dropping into health as I share all I learn and learn all I can about health in our world today, what affects it and how to attain it.

Is more better?

Essential oils are natural and therefore are safe to use in large quantities right? Wrong! Essential oils are natural, if purchased from a reputable company, but too much of a good thing is possible. There are risks and guidelines to follow when using essential oils.

General Guidlines

Essential oils are extremely concentrated and every drop is powerful. A huge amount of plant material goes into creating a single bottle of oil. Below is a picture of a distillation unit being filled with lemongrass.

distillion

Its important to understand the amount of potency within a drop of oil because less is more when it comes to essential oil use. Its important to keep topical use of oils diluted unless being used in more emergence cases (such as bug bites, burns or cuts/scraps). Repeated, consistent use of an oil “neat” or undiluted can result in skin irritation and result in an intolerance for use of the oil all together.

How big is a drop?

A drop of an oil is not a standard measurement, as there is no standardization in oil use which actually makes it very fun. Different oils have different consistences and different bottles have different size opening all playing a role in the amount of oil in a drop. So use the following guidelines as a guide but not a set amount of dilution ratio to help you create effective yet safe blends.

Dilution Guidelines

For every 30ml of carrier being used a 1% dilution would contain 5-6 drops of essential oil. A 3% blend would contain 15-18 drops and a 5% blend would contain 25-30 drops. For children and immune compromised people always use a 1% blend as you do not want to put added stress on the body. Essential oils enter the bloodstream and affect the body as a whole. When making blends for myself, a generally healthy adult, I use a 3% blend. For healing purposes I would use a 5-10% blend. Neat use is very effective in acute situations such as a burn or cut. But do not use for an extended period of time undiluted.

Potential risks

The main risk with essential oil use is skin irritation. It is important to know what oils can be skin irritating and what oils can be skin nourishing if you plan on using oils topically. Lavender, peppermint and frankincense are the only oils I primary use neat, there may be a few others here and there but not often. There are also photo-toxic oils which can cause a severe and potentially permanent skin damage when used and exposed to U.V. light. As a general rule citruses are photo-toxic.

 

 

5 Skin Care Hacks

Essential oils can be extremely nourishing to your skin. I have had the clearest and brightest skin tone since making my own skin care products using oils and carriers. Not only is my skin the best, and proper hydration also plays a role, but it’s saved me money and time. Plus it’s convenient when I run out of something to just make some more in 5-10 mins or less. The following are my 5 favorite recipies for DIY skin care products I use daily. Plus the oils have side benefits that help to elevate mood and support my immune system. I also eliminate toxins from my daily routine and therefore help to prevent health concerns later by using these products.

1. Deodorant

Ingredients:

  • 3 TBS Arrow Root Powder
  • 3 TBS Beeswax – grated
  • 3 TBS Coconut Oil
  • 3 TBS Shea Butter
  • 20 drops Lemon & Lavender Essential Oil

Using a double broiler or one pot on top of boiling water in another (that’s what I do for the same effect) melt coconut oil, Shea butter and bees wax. Add arrow root powder and mix. Remove from heat and add essential oils, I use 10 drops of each lemon and lavender, but you can use any oil you would like, tea tree would be a good oil to use for a more heavy duty deodorant. Pour into an empty deodorant bottle and cool in the fridge for a few hours. And there you have your very own home made deodorant.

2. Lip Gloss

  • Coconut Oil
  • Avacado Oil
  • Wild Orange

You can use an empty lip gloss bottle or order some off Amazon for a few bucks. I used fractionated coconut oil and fill contair about 3/4. Add avacado oil for the remaining 1/4 and add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil. Avoid any phototoxic oils to prevent skin damage. Sweet orange is a citrus oil that is not phototoxic.

3. Acne Smoother

  • Baking Soda
  • Avacado Oil
  • Lemon, Frankincense & Lavender Essential Oil

Mix 1 TBS baking soda with enough avacado oil to create a paste and add a drop of each, lemon lavender and frankincense. Smooth on to problem area or breakouts. I left mine on overnight. Do not use for more than a week as can cause dry skin.

4. Face Powder/Foundation

  • Arrow Root Powder
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

Start with a base of a few spoons of arrow root powder and add little by little cocoa powder, nutmeg and cinnamon until you reach a desired shade. It’s actually quite fun to play around with the color!

5. Revitilizing Toner

  • Witch Hazel
  • Neroli, Lavender, Frankincense & Tea Tree Essential oils

Simply add the listed essential oils or choose your favorite skin nourshing oils to add to your witch hazel.

Black Pepper

Latin Name:

Piper nigrum

Basics:

Black pepper can help to motivate change and reduce fear and blocked energy. It can be useful in dealing with negativity, fatigue and depression. It is also good for nicotine cravings as well.

Theraputic Properties:

  • Analgesic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Good for nausea and vomiting related to overindulgence.
  • Antibacterial against pathogenic bacteria.
  • Vasodilator & rubefacient (warming).
  • Helps when quitting smoking with cravings.

Blends well with:

  • Lemongrass
  • Clove Bud
  • Spike Lavender
  • Cardamom
  • Clary Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Juniper Berry

Saftey Concerns:

Can be skin irritating, a 1% dilution is recommended for topical use and do not use in the bath.

Lemon Essential Oil

Latin Name

Citrus limon

Basics

Lemon is uplifting and cleansing. It helps to expand energy and reduce depression and tension. It is generally sourced from Spain, Italy, France, and S. Africa. Lemon is cold pressed.

Theraputic Properties

  • Has significant anti-pain properties.
  • Anti-inflammatory activity.
  • Reduces anxiety and depression.
  • Can decrease both physical and psychological stress.
  • Antioxidant.
  • Antispasmodic
  • Can tighten tissues.
  • Has a cooling effect.
  • Can have a diuretic effect.
  • Helps detox the body by increasing the synthesis of enzymes in the liver.

Blends Well With:

  • Cypress
  • Patchouli
  • Ginger
  • Black Pepper
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lavender
  • Geranium

Saftey Concerns

Lemon essential oil is phototoxic if more than 12 drops per 1 oz of carrier oil is used. A severe skin reaction can occur if exposed to u.v. light up to 18 hours after application.

Keep in mind the experation date from when the oil was distilled. Citrus oils generally last a year. They oxidize fairly quickly compared to other oils, and can cause skin irritation when used topically if this has occurred. Store in a cool dry place and replace yearly.

Where do I place my oils?

On my feet right?

WRONG! Unfortunately, this is said alot with different companies. But the truth is he palms of your hands and soles of your feet have the thickest skin and therefore absorb the oils slower and the least amount. You will have better results if using the oils over the area of concern directly. Essential oils are lipophilic and are fat soluble so they penetrate the skin easily and are taken up into the bloodstream. The thinner the skin the quicker the oil uptake. Mucous membranes are more sensitive and uptake oils quicker, proceed use with caution. There are multiple benefits of using essential oils and carrier oils on the skin:

  • Can nourish the skin while addressing other areas of concern below
  • Easy to use daily
  • Works well for local inflammation and pain.

Cypress Essential Oil

Latin Name

Cupressus sempervirens

Cypress Basics

Cypress is an earthy scented oil with calming and soothing properties. It is excellent for overthinking, feelings of overwhelming, major life transitions and grief and trauma aid. It is sourced from Spain, France, Italy, and Morocco and extracted by steam distillation.

Therapeutic Properties

  • used to treat pain and inflammation
  • has good activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria
  • plays a role in the prevention of degenerative conditions due to antioxidant properties
  • has been used to relieve spasmodic coughs in natural medicine
  • great for decongestion of the respiratory and venous systems
  • serves as a diuretic and helps reduce excess fluid in tissues

Blends Well With

  • Juniper Berry
  • Rosemary
  • Grapefruit
  • Black Pepper
  • German Chamomile
  • Thyme ct. linalol,
  • Eucalyptus

Saftey Consideration

Take caution when using with asthmatics as it may be helpful with the airway or a potential irritant in some cases. Always start with a low dilution, you can add more if needed.

Do Oils Expire?

Do essential oils go bad?

The answer to this, like most things, is yes. Essential oils have a shelf life and over time they break down and their chemical compounds change. Even if your oils are pure, they still will break down over time, it is a scientific fact. They oxidize over time and extreme heat can also cause chemical breakdowns.

When oxidation occurs the oil will become skin irritating and unfortunately, this is the best way to test oxidation yourself. There are laboratory tests but they are expensive and not ideal. Some oils may get cloudy or smell less vibrant, but you may visually not be able to see a difference. It is important to know the shelf life of your oils and blends to avoid irritation.

Shelf life doesn’t start when you purchase the product but rather when the oils themselves are distilled. So if you are trying to figure out the shelf life you would need to know when the plant was harvested and distilled. Reputable oil companies should provide an expiration date on the bottle. It is always a good idea to keep a running inventory and cycle through your oils as needed.

Blending & Product Shelf Life

When creating a blend or butter the shelf life of the blend becomes the shortest shelf life of the individual products. For example, if I made a headache blend of peppermint, frankincense and coconut oil the shelf life of my blend would that of my peppermint which expires the soonest. When you add water or hydrosols to your blends your shelf life becomes shortened and is about 6 months.

Extending Shelf Life

Keeping bottles sealed tightly and storing oils and carriers in a cool dry place can help keep oils longer. Refrigerating oils is an excellent idea, although not necessary. I personally keep my oils stored in a mini-fridge. Some oils may thicken when placed in the fridge but will thin back out when removed, unaltered. If you are using your oils on a daily basis and don’t intend to need to keep them stored for lengths of time simply keep them out. Don’t leave oils in the sun or in your car.

Everday Oils

Do I have to use oils every day?

This question can be debated among oil users, some who use them daily for everyday living like me, and those who only use them for certain issues or times. There is no right or wrong answer, but to see health benefits and really utilize the amazing properties of essential oils, the more consistent you are in use the more benefits will be seen. Our environment and everyday household products expose us to small amounts of toxins that build up in our bodies over time and disrupt our “healthy” (homeostasis) state. Eliminating or at least minimizing these exposures can lead to a healthy lifestyle and happy body!

The best way to make this happen is to trade in your daily exposure causes, the chemical cleaner you use the cosmetics you place on your skin, anything that comes into contact or goes inside your body. This post is not to explain all the hash details or discuss all the awful chemicals you expose yourself to daily, but here are some links if you want to read further into it:

CNN Everyday Toxins

Hidden Toxins

20 toxins you probably use daily

This process doesn’t have to be overwhelming, you can just switch to using self made products and oils as you finish using up what you have. Integrate your oils into the routines you already have. Below is a list of some uses for oils everyday that may result in side benefits for your health!

  • Lemon & On Guard for  cleaning- these two oils can be used to disinfect your counters and can also be used to make a vegetable wash. Simply add 10 drops to distilled water or viniger in a glass spray bottle. You can use this from your kitchen to your bathrooms and it makes an excellent floor cleaner too.
  • Skin Care & Cosmetics – use essential oils Frankincense, lavender, sandalwood and melaleuca to create your own skin care that you know is safe! Simply use your choice carrier, I use Shea butter, or you can even purchase already made products from a certified aromatherapist if you are not into the DYI! But it’s so easy once you try it and no running to the store when you need more.
  • Cooking- essential oils are great to add to your food or even to flavor your water! Use very small amounts as they are concentrated and if you use too much you can ruin your dish. oregano, cilantro, cinnamon, lemon, lime and basil are some of my favorites I use in the kitchen.
  • Deodorize and cleanse the air – we all hate funky smells, diffusing any oil of your choice can deodorize the air. Tea tree can be used to cleanse the air too. Try blending a few different oils and create a scent custom to what you like.

Using oils doesn’t have to be complicated and can be worked into your already existent lifestyle. Simply replacing some of your products for oils can show a positive impact in your life. Trade out those side effects of toxic products for the side benefits of essential oils.