When you meet a Texan abroad…

…they come to your birthday party!

I recently got my eyebrows microbladed and I had waited a while to pull the trigger on doing this because I wanted them to look as natural as possible.  There is a really handy American Moms Facebook group here so I asked my trusted advisors.  A particular chick was recommended to me, and after weeks of delay, I finally booked with her.

I did what any true crazy person would do…  I stalked her social media to make sure HER brows didn’t look like Cruella Deville…and I wanted to see where she was from in the states.   “Dallas, Texas” it said on her profile.  {JUMPS FOR JOY}

I was totally stoked that she was from Texas.  We could reminisce about Mexican food, Northpark Mall, and maybe have small talk.  Dallas is a big city. Common ground would be general, most likely.  But what I ended up getting was even better!

She shows up to my house…we talk…I found out she’s from a city one of my aunt’s lives in (a suburb of the DFW area)…cool…don’t know many people from there anymore.  More talking.  Tattoo talk.   Piercing Talk.  Missing country music talk.  Velveeta cheese.  Another city she lived in, closer to my hometown, gets brought up and I declare this is where I received two insanely shitty tattoos and a tongue piercing and she declares she has “work” from the same {Insert really crappy tattoo parlor complete with tattoos you select off of their walls — I’m the nonproud owner of a Pisces “symbol” that has since been sliced open three times while birthing children, and a rose tattoo on my lankle.} and the first real job I ever had, I was trained in her town…to which she exclaims they used to eat there all of the time.

We bond over not having to use words from the Oxford English dictionary – but shortened, lazy, Texas English.  We could completely understand every effing word one another spat out.  It was glorious.  Most of the morning spent waiting on numbing cream to activate while we shared what we missed and don’t miss about home.

Then, a month goes by.  She came back for my touchup.  More deep talking.  More common ground.  Now, I’m certain she’s my soul sister.  Exactly the kind of person I totally miss about home with the touch of perspective from someone who has lived away.  Best of both worlds!

We had so much fun talking and laughing….she showed up to my birthday dinner, took her shoes off and sat cross legged on the couch at our table.

Now, I’m in love.  Pretty sure she’ll never get rid of me now.

It’s the little things that make you happy when you’re an expat…

 

Spontaneity and how it can improve your relationship…

img_5868Once you have kids – the life you had of randomly getting in the car to try the new food truck in the cool hipster park, or hitting up happy hours with bottomless margaritas seem like they’re just, well, over….

I remember one day after we had my first born, she was a few weeks old…

We had been remodeling a bedroom while she was napping and my husband asked me something to the effect of…”Do you want to go to Home Depot with me?”  I got dressed…we left the house, got in the car and —–>>>>as he was backing out of the driveway, I said “Holy f&#$!  The baby is asleep!”  Worst.  Parents.  Ever?

It hasn’t gotten any easier since the three kids have gotten older, either.  The older they get, the more of our “free” time they take up with all the birthday parties (Oh, the birthday parties!), the practices, the one on one dates they each require from each parent, and the mornings that could be free time that we use to sleep-in to catch up on all the NOT FREE, time.

As life goes on and we get sucked into this vortex of crappy schedules that lie at the mercy of coaches and other people’s dates of birth…we think we lose the ability to be spontaneous, altogether.  Everyone desires it.  It’s exciting to do something off-the-cuff.

No wife likes to have to nag their husband reminders about what all Little Susie needs for her ballet recital because wife has to work late (which seems to be the only thing spontaneous these days)…

And husbands damn sure don’t like to have to commit to dealing with the reminders or the nagging that goes along with the hectic schedule…

So, how do we fit in spontaneity when we’re servants of little people and their dreams?

Two ways.

1.  Schedule it in. (I’ll explain)
2.  Take every chance that presents itself.

Scheduling it in…

Dates.  You and your spouse should make sure you’re having dates regularly.  Breakfast dates, Lunch dates, Dinner dates, Netflix and Chill dates, hell, eat some dates, they’re delicious.

But don’t take this so literal.  Being spontaneous doesn’t mean you have to LEAVE the house.  You could randomly decide to come home and declare a Game of Thrones binge session…see who falls asleep first…whomever it is owes the other a special deed.

You could decide to have breakfast for dinner! GASP! Don’t get too crazy.

You could, randomly, without telling your spouse, call up a babysitter and when they get home, say get dressed we’re going somewhere…WHERE?  Who the hell knows??

IT CAN BE DONE.

WHEN THE CHANCE PRESENTS ITSELF…

Say that you’re driving down the road and you don’t really have to be somewhere on-time and you see a sign that says “Farmers Market, next exit” – GO! See what you find!

Say you’re in a gas station and you see a GRILL (like the kind rappers wear on their teeth), buy it and give it to your spouse as a surprise….watch them laugh.  <<<<<——- Personal life experience.

In summary, LIGHTEN UP!  Not everything has to be planned to the minute.  And when you get a minute that isn’t planned – BE SPONTANEOUS!  Oh and another tip for another blog post is – SOMETIMES SAY “NO” TO COMMITMENTS.

Spontaneity can save a relationship and make you get to know each other whilst experiencing new things together…

BOREDOM and MONOTONY kill happy marriages every damn day.

Get freaky and keep it fresh.

Fast-track to Crunchy

Do you ever scroll through your newsfeed and question why and HOW SO MANY people have allergies?  Have you ever been one to roll your eyes at all of the moms who restrict foods from their kids because of “allergies”?

Do you ever cry when you see GoFundMe accounts begging for donations for family’s who have fallen victim to one of their children being diagnosed with CANCER?

Do you remember this being the “norm” when you were growing up?

Do you ever remember going to the doctor when you were a kid and getting multiple vaccinations at once?
Do you remember there being children in your class growing up that had to sit at a special “allergy” table in the lunch room?
Do you remember your mom hearing about the neighbor down the street whose kid got chickenpox so she made you go and hang out with that kid, on purpose?
Do you remember going to the doctor with the flu – only for them to send you home with a prescription of some honey and tea and tell you to drink fluids?

Do you ever wonder WHY things changed?  How we got here? WHY are so many people sick?

If you do – do you also make fun of people who try to eat healthy?  People who try to recycle? Do you discredit mothers who mindfully attempt to feed their children as healthy as possible?  Do you mock them and make excuses that you’re just “too busy” to try to do “all that”?

The truth is, our food changed.  It’s not grown anymore, it is manufactured. Some people have done the research and learned that – and changed their ways.  And it’s hard to do that. And you should give them a pat on the back!

The REASON that mothers all around the globe are feeding their children healthier than others is because they don’t WANT to be the one begging for donations on a GoFundMe page so they can afford chemo treatments.  They don’t WANT to be on their death bed when they’re 35 years old with 3 small children at home watching them die – if they can at all help it!

If you ask any person under 50 years old that is dying – and they knew that some lifestyle choice that they had – made them have cancer – I GUARANTEE you, they would take it all back.

And sure, we mustn’t live our life in fear.  We’re all going to die someday…I know.
But the thought of my CHILDREN getting extremely sick because I refuse to even TRY to do things a LITTLE BIT healthier than the way I grew up in the 90s because it’s too HARD….I can’t stomach it.  And second to that is something happening to ME because I choose not to take care of my body within reason.  Not to mention how big of a total and complete BITCH I am when I’m not healthy and not confident…

I spent the first 4 years of parenthood in a doctor’s office with my daughter, almost monthly.  You’d have thought she had an auto-immune disease.  I was demanding answers and was convinced she had an underlying sickness.

Medication after medication, co-pay after co-pay….and all I had was a chronically sick child.

One day, I started attending a chiropractor in my hometown (Shoutout Dr. Judd) and I had two snotty, sick children every time I went in that office.  He offered to adjust my kids – “what? like crack their back like you do mine???”

He told me that he had been adjusting his baby since birth…

He told me that adjustments could help with a lot of my children’s issues (ear infections, digestion issues, sleeplessness).  Okay, Mr.  Hippie chiropractor – I’ll let you do your voodoo magic on my kids – I haven’t got anything else to lose at this point.

My kids started getting better…and I started to believe in the whole “crunchy” lifestyle being the better alternative.  But I secretly still thought he and his wife were batshitcrazy.

I began sharing the stories of how my children’s ear infections were finally eradicated.  Not because of multiple surgeries that they had endured…but because chiropractic care.  Because of Dr.  Judd.

Once I saw how increasingly better my daughter’s quality of life was…I wanted more.  What else?  What else have I been convinced by modern medicine is the BEST way to mend ailments unavoidable by childhood? (Thank you to the Judd’s! I am forever grateful.)

I went so deep down the rabbit hole…I started making my own cleaning products (cheaper and less toxins), I made the kids’ body wash, wearing aluminum free deodorant, stopped cleaning everything with bleach, started getting rid of the cereal, the cereal bars, the chips, the juices, and over the course of a couple of years…we hadn’t seen a doctor’s office except for checkups.

We are being fooled to think we have to have medical intervention for everything.  Convenient snacks are so enticing.  We can’t even pronounce the ingredients in the “food” we feed our kids…but we’d never in a million years think that something that caused cancer would be allowed in the foods we eat.  It’s “minimal” they say.  Well, when you take “minimal” from each product and box of food you’re using and total that all up – it’s no longer minimal.

I used to poke fun at people like me.  I did.  But you know what happened?  I started noticing that their children were hardly sick…and when they were, they were better much faster.  Their kids willingly ate healthy.  And they still get to have brownies and balance of unhealthy food…

Then, I became on the fast track to “Crunchy”.  I am.  I will be.  I feel proud.  I feel more informed.  I feel like I have options.  I feel like my children are thriving more.  I feel like I’m the parent and no longer a victim of industrialization (as much as before).

We still have these old snacks and treats.  Sometimes modern medicine is better.   It has its place.

But if you fuel your family with food that your body actually RECOGNIZES, then it’ll know where to funnel what nutrient to keep your bodies optimally functioning.

WHAT A CONCEPT, HUH?

I don’t claim to be some educated health guru.  I just can speak from personal experience that going from a pantry full of Lucky Charms, Goldfish, Doritos, Cheetos, Little Debbies, and White Bread….to Oatmeal, Quinoa, Nuts, Dried Fruits, and a fridge full of fruit and vegetables…that life got BETTER, and less expensive that all those co-pays and prescriptions!

I’ve got no control over what eventually kills me…or my children…but I’m going to try my ass off to make as many proactive decisions as I can…without going insane.  But one thing is for certain….eating unhealthy every single day is the fast track to health problems. Creating healthy habits when your kids are small are a hell of a lot better for them than when they’re 30, overweight, miserable, and NO CLUE how to eat healthy or what even IS healthy.

So the next time you wonder “how did we get here?”….go ask one of those moms you’re poking fun at 😉 she can’t WAIT to talk to you about it! IMG_1312

It’s not you, it’s me….

Today, I broke up with my Facebook App.  It’s been a long, long 10 years of this amazing source of data of food photos, funny memes, inspirational videos, births, weddings, and searching for people to help and inspire…

But the last year it has not given me as much joy as it once did.

I find myself getting sucked into depressing thoughts and frustrating screams every time I open the app.

I’m starting to not want to know what my loved ones think because it’s making me sad.  And some of them are equally frustrated with my opinions.
I want to remember the personality traits that I love about people and love them for those reasons.  I want to remember the sound of their voice, the sound of their laugh, how they like to eat their hotdog, what grade our kids were in together…
I don’t want to know their political views.  I don’t want to know their religious opinions.  I don’t want to see them bashing other friends that I love.

I want to remember you and all the reasons I loved you before social media.

So, today, Newsfeed.  We’re on a break.  And I am cheating on you, with Instagram….

Instagram doesn’t have a share button where you can click a picture of Obi-Wan and guilt people into being ashamed of Jesus for not sharing.

 

IRONIC HIPOCRASY

I have spent the last two years trying to walk the talk I preach.  I had an epiphany a couple of years ago and realized my life’s purpose was to help women.  Daily preachings and encouragement to put themselves first for ONCE in their life so that they may have a cup to pour from for their relationships, job, and children.

I saw people begin to become healthier, happier, more confident.  I became addicted to helping people.  I moved on to my husband, my children, also.  And before I knew it, day by day, little by little….I stopped taking care of MYSELF.

The end of 2017 I found myself digging through boxes of random shit from the last 12-15 years of my life.  You know, the boxes of stuff you throw things in when you’re moving that you just don’t want to deal with or go through…photos that aren’t in albums, mail, letters, cards, etc….

Our villa doesn’t have adequate storage compared to homes back in the U.S., so I had no choice but to go through them, FINALLY, so that I could consolidate.

I relived the last half of my life, almost in chronological order…it was intense.  I found myself grieving the loss of family members, being relieved that some struggles were behind my marriage, realizing that my oldest child is going to be graduated from school in the same amount of years of her current age.

Life goes by so fast once you have kids.

I am also a “fight or flight” type of person.  But one thing I realized in going through all of the boxes was that I’ve never really dealt with my emotions and it was this MASSIVE realization that the things I’ve been through in life have affected who I am today.  I knew this already….I just learned some SPECIFIC things that I realized were the derivative of my issues.

Which brings me to my point – my uncle always said to me when I was a teenager (which I believe his parents said to him) …

“Remember, the decisions you make tonight could affect you for you for the rest of your life.”

At the time, I realized he was just trying to influence me to make decisions to keep myself safe, to keep myself childless, and to not hurt other people…

But TODAY – this means something TOTALLY DIFFERENT TO ME.

The decisions you make can affect your CHILDREN for the rest of THEIR lives!

When we become adults and realize the origin of our fuckedupness…it’s a lot to endure.

Resentment.  Shame.  Anxiety.  Pain.

When I realize how my childhood and my teenage experiences impact who I am as an adult and as a mother – it is FREAKY of how my children could be impacted.

You realize if your mom sucked it was because she tried to do the opposite of her mom and took it too far, and her mom wasn’t what she needed because her mom was a certain way…

OUR DECISIONS AFFECT OUR CHILDREN FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.
And I’m not talking about the big decisions out the gate like BF/FF, vaccinate/don’t vaccinate, etc….I’m talking about our reactions to their behavior, our pet peeves…etc.

This is a LOT of pressure.

Here’s an example.
When my son pokes me to get my attention I completely see red and lose my shit on him instantly (when normally I am really patient).  It’s embarrassing how angry I get – immediately.
I was talking to my aunt about how I was not sure why I get so angry….she said, “I know why”….and proceeds to remind me that when my mother would get mad at me she would poke me in the chest and get in my face to talk to me sternly.  Then alllll the memories of how SHITTY of a person that made me feel came flooding back to me.

…And here I am present day, losing my shit on my 5-year-old from him poking me to get my attention….which he could later end up telling his therapist when he’s 30 that when he was a child and would try to get my attention I would yell at him…. :::CHA-CHING::: Therapy bills piling up already!

It’s like, which came first?  The chicken? Or the egg?

What do you think your kids will tell their therapists?

Life is a total MINDF*CK!

This year I’m on a new path for MYSELF.  Going to be PRACTICING my own advice and stop being a total hypocrite!

First thing’s first…back on the healthy eating and daily exercise routine.  WISH ME LUCK!

Don’t put me on speaker phone…

You may be wondering…how can a pain in the ass be helpful?

Well…I’m not the kind of person that you can put on speaker phone.  Sometimes my want need for profanity gets out of control…

I could make a sailor blush.

Here’s why I think people still want to be friends with me anyway…

Because I am not the type of person that is going to tell you what you WANT to hear.  I assume when someone contacts me to get my opinion they have previously exhausted all advice from all other folks and still haven’t had a solution to their issue…or perhaps they want to get the cold-hard truth from the very start of their dilemma…

The people that have known me FOREVER expect this tough-love-talk from me.  If you’re just getting to know me…just know, that’s how I show you love.  If I am not challenging you and making you think, then I either am not sure if our friendship is on the level of #truth or I perhaps may not enjoy your company.  Luckily, over the years of personal growth I have practiced and learned how to deliver these moments of brash truth in a little more loving and less harsh way…(still working on it).

One day, I asked myself “Why do you do this to people?!” And the answer I got from myself, was “Because that’s what YOU need…”

I have a really strong personality – and am unapologetically me.  The more of me you see, the closer we are…and I need people even stronger than me and more outspoken than me for advice.  Sometimes that’s hard to find! I think it’s because I give what I need…I need people to hold me accountable just like I hold them.

…God bless all of the people that put up with me…I love you dearly.

Who really goes on an International Flight, with kids?

…Short Answer…MOST OF THE WORLD.  Americans don’t travel with children internationally as often as everyone else in the world mostly because of how freaking far away the USA is from everything else…AND we have FIFTY states to visit that are all so different – seeing them all is something every American spends a lifetime trying to do, much less go ACROSS THE POND.  Also, let’s face it – it’s expensive to fly internationally from the USA for one person, much less, adding a bunch of kids to the bill.

Growing up in the middle of the continental U.S., flights are not very long in comparison to an international flight.  I think the longest flight I’ve ever been on in the States was three and a half hours.  When I was a kid and flew to see my Dad, (he was in the military and my parents were divorced) the flights never bothered me.  Luckily, my Dad got me a Walkman CD player so that I could listen to music to pass the time and I remember belting out Shania Twain on the way to San Francisco and I couldn’t hear how loud I was because he had gotten me some badass leather-cushioned headphones (before BOSE was a thing) and I couldn’t hear shit.  Not until my grandmother tapped me on the hand and gave me this little smirk did I know…Hopefully I sounded GOOD.

But those were before the days of the immediate gratification that my children are accustomed. (Wonder what they’ll call their generation…?)  Now, kids don’t even have to watch commercials (which was kind of fucking awesome until they discovered the weird world of grown ass adults playing with toys on YouTube..that’s basically an entire episode of a “commercial…) they can just literally be like, “Oh I want to binge on Wild Kratts and I want to see the episode where they help the tiger…”  This reality is NOT flight friendly.  Sometimes not even when you fly business class on the world’s most luxurious airline, because although the airline has done their duty to put Paw Patrol on their amazing entertainment system…little spoiled shits have already seen that entire season and they don’t want to watch it and canNOT understand why the new episodes with Everest aren’t an option. But I digress.

I have three kids.  Each 3 years apart and my youngest is 2.5…so I have an array of expectations to fulfill.  Most importantly, the toddler.  He’s fucking insane.  He requires a dungeon of darkness to sleep…so he doesn’t sleep on a plane…and then my middle child isn’t that great at reading yet so he has to have extra help, too.  My oldest is a survivor (Bless Her Heart) and I don’t have to do a thing with her…

BUT – no less, here are my tips on traveling from my experience traveling back and forth from Texas to Dubai with the brood.

1.  Preparing for the Flight

One of my biggest bouts of anxiety when we first had to travel with the kids was airport security.  Trying to imagine how all three of my kids would deal with mommy and daddy having to take out every single thing and put it into the bins and take our shoes off and then how would we walk through so that we didn’t lose a kid…

First, pack smart.  Do not take ANYTHING on that plane that you don’t need.  Every kid gets a backpack for their crap (books, crossword puzzles, iPad, toys, a few legos, a change of clothes, diapers, wipes, snacks, sippy cup, etc.) because an International Flight for Americans means that you’ll be on the plane for a whole day.  Snacks.  When you think you haven’t packed enough – pack more.  My kids do not typically eat non-perishable food, but for flying, I make an exception for my sanity.  Just like grown ass adults, boredom hunger strikes every five minutes.  (Especially when you see that stupid airplane icon still has 8 more hours to go until you’ve reached your destination).  For whatever reason, eating passes the time.  The food on our flights to and fro are excellent, and the kids like it…but there are several hours in between each meal.  This is where goldfish, crackers, protein bars, etc come in handy.

For myself I take a backpack or a crossbody instead of a handbag so that my hands are free and I have a change of clothes, the diapers and wipes, my laptop, and makeup.  My husband takes a backpack with his junk…and then we take ONE carry on luggage because I have really expensive camera equipment that I don’t want to check.  Tip:  I always pack a change of clothes just in case our luggage gets misplaced.

Oh, and obviously – get there WAY early.

2.  What do you wear?

Leggings! DUH!  We really take advantage of athliesure-wear for flights.  I wear a black leggings, Nike’s, a comfy top –>but not a workout top, and then I dress it up with a cardigan or vest so that I don’t look too much like I’m about to go to the gym.  Hubby wears about the same thing.  I put the boys in cool little boy sweatpants and a long sleeved shirt, usually, for day flights, and then I pack their PJs.  For the tot, he needs a couple of extra shirts because he ends up with food all over him….For middle of the night flights, I put them in their PJ’s most of the time and then pack the reverse.

Side note:  a lot of people like to fly in sandals so that they don’t have to spend as much time taking off their shoes in the security line, but I do not want to walk on the floor barefoot…and when we’re traveling that far with kids, I want to be in some comfy shoes because there will be a lot of walking involved.  And airports are always COLD.

3.  Security

We have a lot of bins…one for each laptop, 5 backpacks, two teddy bears, and the carry on…plus mine and hubby’s shoes.  (The kids don’t have to take theirs off.) But we start removing clothing and shoes well before it’s our turn…we have a really good system.
We put one adult in the front, the kids in the middle, and the other of us at the back…so that one of us can receive the kids through the security checkpoint and one can keep an eye on them to the forward.  When the tot was a baby we did have the stroller and they took it through separately and I carried him with me.  Now, he just walks through the xRay machine himself.  It’s always gone rather smooth and we’ve never taken up too much time.  The most stressful part is the putting things back on while the kids are standing and putting things back in their bags…because we’re just sort of watching the kids out of our peripherals!

4.  In Flight

So, the hardest part is SLEEP.  A LOT of people suggest giving Benadryl but I really don’t care for that method – I tried it once out of desperation and all it did was send my toddler into a state of high – like he was on speed.  I’m not a big fan of medicine at all.  We have it but we don’t use it anymore.  HOWEVER, like I mentioned previously, my toddler WILL NOT sleep on planes.  Our flight is 16 hours and I have to have some sleep to function for the other two.  You’ve got a couple of options, 1…tag team your husband and take turns.  2.  Liquid Melatonin.  I did this a few weeks ago and it didn’t make him sleep 8 hours, but it did chill him out and let him have a long 4 hour nap (at the very end of the flight.)  I was a zombie but it at least kept me from re-seating him every 5 seconds like previous flights.  The older two just watch movies and eat the whole time.  Pretty easy to fly with the 5 and 8 year old. (Even since they were a few years younger also.)  It’s the toddler that’s hard.  We put him by the window so that he is sort of trapped.  He plays with Hot Wheels and legos and will watch about 20 mins of TV/MOVIE.

5.  Getting Off.

The easiest part of all.  My kids are always excited but also scared, so they’ll be hyperaware of their surroundings since they’re in an unfamiliar place.  I sit with the kids while my husband retrieves all of our luggage and the stroller…we play “I Spy” or talk about our plans after the luggage gets around.  It’s not too stressful.

Hope your international flight goes as smooth as a baby’s bum!

All Willy Nilly

Marriage advice.

We had to go get food today because, we were gone for a month visiting family in the States, so we were out of everything. Michael went with me so he could get a shave while I shopped and then he met me back in the grocery store.

I forgot I had to grab some almond milk so he started checking out while I went to get it. I came back to find all of our items placed all willy nilly on the belt. It made me cringe. No rhyme or reason to the placement. 😬 

But I didn’t say a word. Catch me on a bad day, and sure – I’d have complained. But today, I took a deep breath and giggled to myself about how unproductive this battle would have been to pick.

I feel like it’s these small instances of every day nit-picky and bickering that make marriage fall into the pits of the rollercoaster.

If I’d have chosen to be bitchy, I KNOW that the next time I asked him to go with me, he would say not no, but hell no!

 

In previous discussions about our relationship – I learned that when he becomes an unnecessary workaholic, its almost always related to my attitude and current mood.  These days, if I’m being moody for a day, he just brushes it off…and if it’s shark week he brushes it off (or I’d bite his head off) – but if it’s 2-3 days of straight up shittyness toward him, he calls me out.  No, I’m not some oppressed woman whose husband tells her to get some “act right”….I’m a woman that needs to be checked sometimes.  Because I don’t want to end up sharing my children on the weekends with him and some step mom my children can’t wait to see because she makes really good salsa!

So the next time you think about complaining about something DUMB like this…#checkyourself

 

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Something had to give.

I was talking to a mom who considers herself crunchy and she said all the time people ask her “this must be your first [child]”?

I’ve heard people say this before. Hell, I’ve probably even said this about people I know who I thought were “extreme” in the past.

The truth of the matter for me, is, I’ve become crunchier with each child (I have three) and as time passes on. Why? Because with each child came a new set of symptoms which I googled, asked questions to my friends who I knew did things in a healthier way, tried to figure out the CAUSE of their symptoms instead. It all started with my daughter who had chronic ear infections for 4 and a half years. Then a little boy who seemed to be allergic to dairy. Then another dairy allergy. A baby who was perfectly normal with no skin issues or illnesses until I started giving him formula at 8 months old.

I didn’t ask the generation above me (no offense to them) but it was clear to me that MY generation was one filled with allergies, early breast cancer, autism, massive amounts of depression and anxiety and quite frankly I felt something had to be common. No coincidence.

As I research more and more I become passionately reliant upon remedies that come from the soil God gave us. What we put into our bodies is killing us. But it can also heal us – if we change what we put into it.

Inflammation is the first sign that something is wrong with your children and you. But what is inflammation? It’s the body’s immune response to something that is wrong. Toxins like chemicals in our processed foods and cleaners, etc. It presents itself in the system through signs like rashes, eczema, headaches, upset stomach, asthma, and even worse like blood circulation and erectile dysfunction – and while some of these can be severe – most of the time all of these symptoms are mild and manageable with convenient over the counter medicines (which also have side effects). But when you combine all of it together – it’s chaos. Your body shouldn’t feel that way. Your little baby and your small children certainly shouldn’t.  STOP ACCEPTING that.

But what do we do? We look to doctors. What do doctors know how to do? Treat symptoms. All we really have to do is change how we take care of ourselves.  Did you know that doctors are not trained in nutrition? I didn’t either until I started researching.

If you have a child with any of those symptoms – I challenge you to change their meal plan to a Whole Foods plant-based diet for two weeks and see what happens. You don’t have anything to lose.  Something has to give.  What we’ve been doing doesn’t work.  Our generation is not “just fine” and the next one will not be either unless we change the cycle.  Ask questions.  Read nutrition blogs.

And most of all, acknowledge conventional ways aren’t THE way.IMG_6863.jpg

6 Items to Spruce Up Your Spice Cabinet

Every month in my thirty-day health accountability groups, we talk about what you should purge from your pantry, your fridge, and your freezer – but one thing that often gets put to the back burner is the SPICE CABINET.  Most people who join  my groups are just beginning commitment to their health – so it is difficult enough for them to purge the pantry, which I feel is the MOST important to audit.

But, for what you must toss from your pantry – you must ADD to your spice cabinet.  For those of us growing up learning to cook with things like seasoning packets and boxed items, the seasoning we needed is already provided, so when you purge those things, you’ve got to figure out how to get the similar flavors so you don’t get bored of what you eat each day.

A HUGE reason that I had begun the process of making my seasonings and dressings from scratch in the first place, is because I live abroad, so I can’t just find Miracle Whip and Hidden Valley Ranch on every street corner.    You can find just about any copycat recipe on Pinterest or Google for your favorite prepackaged seasonings, so over time, I have accumulated a lot of spices in the last year.

These are my six favorite things.

1.  Himalayan Sea Salt – the difference in flavor between this and regular table salt is incredibly noticeable to me.  The regular iodized table salt tastes sort of like bleach or some other chemical type taste in my opinion.  I didn’t used to think that…but now if I’m out of the “pink salt” and have to use the table salt, it tastes TERRIBLE.  Do your research about why to use this, but I promise, it’s worth the splurge.  I use the coarse granules and put it into a salt grinder so that I have more control over how much I salt my post-plated food.  You know how salt likes to come POURING out of a regular shaker…I think this is a good deal on the quantity of sea salt  – and it will last a long time.

2.  RAW Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother) – you’ll see me talk about this stuff a lot.  I’ve been drinking it most mornings with a drop of honey and squeeze of lemon wedge to help with digestion and gut bacteria.  I also use it when making bone broth.  It helps detoxify your liver, kidneys, and it pulls the good nutrients out of the bone marrow when making broth.  It is not very tasty to drink, but I guarantee you it’s not any worse than a shot of tequila! Eden is a brand that I get here, but I love Bragg’s and it’s really cheap on Amazon.

3.  Steak Seasoning – I am a HUGE fan of garlic.  I would’ve included it here, but I imagine everyone already has garlic of some form in their kitchen.  I used to season steaks with just salt, pepper, and garlic, but YEARS ago, one of my best friends gave us a bottle of this steak seasoning and we have never stopped using it.  It has dried, organic sea salt, black pepper, garlic, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.  I would have NEVER thought to put the last three ingredients in a steak seasoning – but it’s incredibly tasty.  Just with anything, the flavor is more intense the longer you let it marinate on the steak, but the amazing thing is it’s still pretty freaking good 5 mins before it goes on the grill.  It’s perfect on any kind of meat and I love it on asparagus! I used to order it on Amazon, but lately I’ve only been able to find it straight from their website.  It’s not the cheapest thing ever, but it lasts us (family of 5) for about six to nine months.  It has way less sodium than other steak rubs you’ll see at the grocery store.

4.  Paprika – Y’all. I used to think that paprika was only something you used on Thanksgiving to sprinkle on deviled eggs for decoration.  It turns out, it’s in almost everything!  It’s in Miracle Whip, Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, and Asian seasonings…it blows my mind how much I use this stuff.  Do me a favor and find low sodium Paprika though!  It is ridiculous how much sodium is hidden in the foods you’re consuming.  Some brands to trust are Mrs. Dash and Flavor God who have a bunch of combos you’re probably used to using.  Also try things like smoked paprika, or sweet paprika – or my favorite – sweet smoked paprika!  It gives a totally different depth of flavor.

5.  Braggs Liquid Aminos – I cannot find this stuff here either, so I have someone bring us some every 6 months or so.  Imagine soy sauce with 1/4 of the sodium!  We cook a lot of Asian-fusion dishes and this stuff makes me feel less guilty about it (that and the Paprika).  This is yummy on roasted and sautéed veggies!

6.  Ghee – I have posted about this in a previous blog but you really want to get you some of this if you like to cook with butter.  We are in the process of limiting – eliminating dairy from our house and although this isn’t able to be deemed “dairy free” it is {mostly} free of the proteins that cause irritation for people with dairy intolerance.  But aside from that, it’s FREAKING DELICIOUS! I use it more in baking than sauteing, but it has a nutty flavor.  It smells like movie theatre popcorn.  You won’t regret getting rid of the Country Crock for this, I promise.

Some of these items are a little pricer that what you’re probably currently using…but a pro tip is purge and replace one item at a time each week and rest assured that the things your using will be staples in your cabinet for a while and, so you won’t have to purchase it frequently.
Try these things out and let me know what you think!