In an effort to review non-biased research, I got the book “Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils” (2011). In it, Kurt Schnaubelt (a leading scientist and author who is not affiliated with Young Living) discusses how the essential oil industry, much like other consumer industries, can be driven by trying to reach a desired price point for consumers. "An ocean of processed oils lies between the seeker and a comparatively minute quantity of truest authentic oils." So the question is how can authenticity be proven and does it influence the effectiveness of an oil if it is not authentic?
The number one way to know if an oil is authentic is to know it's source. Where is it grown? How is it grown? Which vendor sells it? How do they distill it? Take a look at these videos to get some insight into the process choices.
Did you notice how Young Living’s oils were processed in a clean environment? Did you also notice that the other brand of essential oils were distilled in mud and then stored in old plastic containers?? Gross! The Young Living promise of authenticity also means that these oils are organic, pesticide-free, and chemical-free. They’ve been cared for from Seed to Seal.
In addition to poor distillation techniques, adulteration can influence the activity of the essential oil. Adulteration is when an oil has been altered, either through the low quality distillation method, the addition of another element or a less expensive essential oil. For example, Lavandin is a form of Lavender that is not as hard to source, grow or distill. It also doesn’t have the same properties as Lavender but it does have a similar smell. Most “lavender scented” products you will buy will be made with Lavandin or even a completely fabricated fragrance. It won't have the health benefits of Lavender. It is possible to add these low molecular components to an oil by using half of the actual oil along with the other less expensive substances. This results in crowding out the pure components and reducing their presence in the final bottles of oil. The oil still has some of the same elements, although it isn't easily detected as changed. It's not as if they added alcohol (though that can happen too!), but they industrially tweaked the balance in the oil to make it "cheaper" for consumers, using the lower quality components to bulk up the oil.
I view it as buying Velveeta. Is it cheese? Or isn't it? They used to market it as cheese and they still call it a "cheese product." It can melt and make things "cheesy" and I am sure some of the same ingredients in Velveeta are found in cheese too. And sure, you get a lot of bang for your buck when they add all the cheap fillers into that big brick.
When they made Velveeta they aimed to make imitation cheese which was cheaper and they wanted it to go farther in a day and age when food was less affordable and less available.
The issue is, Velveeta may look like and smell like cheese to an unaware person (or a small kid who doesn’t know any better). And yes, it's sold in the cheese section of the store. But I am going out on a limb here to let you know...
It's not cheese.
People aren't getting anything health benefits from it. It's not fueling their bodies well. In fact, it’s actually causing their bodies to work harder! All of the processed elements in it cause your body to have to do a lot of extra work to digest this substance and attempt to find some nutrition in it!
Velveeta is not just milk and cultures (you know- the healthy parts of cheese!).
Likewise, an essential oil can look and smell like it's plant source. It can still be a "plant product" and not providing the same level of effects as unadulterated, organically sourced oils. "Most importantly, the complex effect- the properties emerging at the level of the whole organism expressing the characteristic qualities of a specific species- are woefully absent from doctored oils" (Schnaubelt, 2011).
A little while back I sniffed oils at a local health food store and couldn't believe how odd they smelled- certainly not as pure or real as the ones I have. It’s almost off-putting how gross they smell. (Once you’ve had delicious sharp aged New York cheddar gracing your cracker, Velveeta just won't do.) If you have used these types of oils, you may think “they don’t work.” Well I agree- they don’t. They can’t have the same ability as an oil that has been sourced from a healthy, organic seed and then farmed and distilled with the least invasive and most effective process!
Some people may settle for imitation health sources. But I'll be over here savoring the best of the best while getting the best results. Join me on a journey to authentic (*delicious*) health! And if you want to stay in touch and get to know my friends and I more, here is our Facebook group where we announce classes and learn more!
This is kind of a big week. Annually I find this week one of serious reflection, a little melancholy and emotion. I haven't been the same since this week passed seven years ago. This was the week when our first baby was born. And it was a heck of a week. I look back on it with anxiety, fear and gratitude- that we all survived. These aren't really the types of emotions one usually has when they reflect on their baby's birth- are they? And yet, I don't think that "usual" is really a thing when it comes to birth- not any more at least. Every birth story is unique, different and intense. That intensity can come in different ways. It can be intense activity, pain, joy, excitement or love. And really, it can be all of these and then some.
When I was about 6 to 7 months pregnant I started to show signs that pregnancy was taking a toll on me. I was swollen. My wrists were swollen, my hands were swollen and my ankles were swollen. Looking back on it, I really don't think there was a part of me that wasn't affected. And yet, I wasn't due for a few more months. It's not that I didn't try to address these issues. I brought it up at check ups and had my blood pressure checked regularly. I had my pee tests done with every check up too (pregnancy is so glamorous). I wore hand braces when I had carpal tunnel. I cut back on sodium to minimize swelling. I did what I could to handle the daily inconveniences. But nothing was a typical red flag. I did once have elevated blood pressure- the week of Christmas! So it was an easy flag to shrug off when it went back to normal the following week.
And yet. There was something that wasn't on point. We didn't, however, find out until this week seven years ago. It was a busy week as we traveled the PA turnpike to see family for the baby shower. On the way back west our truck broke down. We had to get it flat bed towed the rest of the way home (and my hubby got to take one for the team and ride in it like that with the dog- shhh don't tell anyone since I don't think that's legal!). Then we had to unload all the baby gifts from it and get home. I remember that I had a head cold that weekend too- 7.5 months pregnant and sick is memorable!
About 30 hours later in the EARLY morning I woke up feeling paranoid and not quite right. The first 6 months of this pregnancy were, aside from my swelling, pretty normal. I felt the baby at the typical times. I had energy and lack there of at typical times. But that night did not feel typical. I couldn't "wake" the baby. I didn't feel him react to me. It was concerning enough to cause me to call my midwives at the hospital and wake my hubby and head over there. Luckily I trusted my instinct and wasn't trying to "Power through."
It was an insanely windy morning and the roads were empty as we drove down town at 5 am. We even joked that it was a trial run for the real deal (a trial run in which I didn't bring a suitcase - mainly because I didn't think I'd need it and I hadn't packed one yet!)
This pregnancy didn't have the rush to the hospital in labor "typical" scene (it would take three more years to experience that!). No, we went in, explained our concerns and I got strapped up to monitors. For good.
Four hospital days later involving many doctor exams, ultrasounds, 24 hour urine analysis, blood work, heart monitors and blood pressure cuffs, this was my Facebook update:
Prayer request update
I annually reflect on that assurance that God put on my heart that week- That our coming and going from this world is meant to be out of our control.
It's the daily surrender that trips me up. It was almost easier to give this medical challenge to God (and the medical professionals) than to remember he is also present each day. Being a mom has definitely shown me that I have not mastered this. I also still think about this experience seven years ago with "what should I have done differently" mentality. After writing this status at noon, my organs started to fail and by that evening while visiting with my friend and husband I started feel sharp pains in my side. My liver was shutting down and upon further tests it was evident that my blood platelets were getting extremely low. I had developed not only pre-eclempsia but I was officially in the diagnostic category that everyone kept saying they didn't want to see: HELLP syndrome. The "treatment" was that baby needed to be delivered. That night we started induction. The 15th. He was born on the 17th. It was not quick or easy. And it took me a while to give in to getting an epidural. I am stubborn when it comes to the whole "I'll do it myself" mentality. I ended up asking for the epidural because I wanted to give my coaches- my mom and husband- a break! It was a much needed break.
Here is what did happen two days and lots of medical intervention later:
He was a blessing. He is a blessing. I work to remember that even when he is a pain- it happens, let's be real here- we can all be a pain sometimes.
I think one of the reasons that I reflect back on this whole experience with emotion is not only because it was intense and emotional (and the birth was only the beginning- the roller coaster ride that is getting your baby out of the NICU is harder) but also because it's so easy to accept that I am not in control and that God is. It's so easy to take for granted all that you have and to try to control it all again.
Today I was working through a study on the Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer and one of the pieces that we are told to put on is the "Breastplate of Righteousness." Heh. Good luck with that. I'm a mom. I am not righteous. Luckily I read more closely because that is exactly what God knows and assures us of- there is no one righteous. Phew. Well, okay. I can do <not> righteous. As explained in the study- trying to chase perfectionism prevents us from chasing God. Yes. This. I need to repeat that as a mantra: Trying to be perfect prevents you from chasing God. Another phrase that I recently heard was EGO stands for Edging God Out. *Punch to the gut*
When we focus on self, there isn't room for focus on God.
I look back at my pregnancy and my labor with our little one and wish it had been perfect. I feel envy for those who had perfect deliveries and I feel fearful of not being able to be perfect. Well I need to let that go. We mom's can all let that kind of stuff go. I am not going to be perfect. I am not going to be a righteous mom. It just isn't going to happen. In this world I am going to be the "Oops, I messed up again, please forgive me" mom... well that's what I am aiming for because asking forgiveness is a no joke challenge for the ego too.
God can be righteous and his Son can be perfect. I am working on accepting that this is the gift given to me. And I can remind myself that giving up control is the closest I will get to righteous. If you have a burden as a mom that you are carrying around- whether it's trying to compare yourself to other moms who are doing it all or compare your kids to other kids who are doing it all, or striving for perfection based on the world's standards- feel free to drop that weight off here. There is no one perfect. The Perfect One has come and gone ahead to prepare a place for us.
While it's emotional and a little draining, I am grateful that I can use our son's birthday to remember that this is a life long lesson. And so begins day one of continuing to work on that lesson.
When the kids aren't acting the way I would like. I need to let go of control. When my house is getting destructed while I am cleaning, I need to let go of control. When I am tired and T.V. watching is about all I can organize, I need to let go of control. When my kids channel their inner cats and dogs and the din makes me want to hide like a bunny, I need to let go of control. When dinner is blah and not at all the Cooking channel inspiration it was supposed to be, I need to let go of control. It doesn't mean it's all going to go to chaos. But it does mean I don't need to get upset, angry or envious when it is chaotic.
This is still real life. It's the life where God wants us to be faithful and loving and kind and truthful and NOT perfect. We need him for that gift of righteousness.
God knew I was going to need to keep learning.
And so I lay down my regrets and feelings of shortcoming and acknowledge that God is in control and I am just a mess that needs to be cleaned up. I can handle that and so can He. *deep sigh of relief*
So be human, be kind and loving and keep trying even when you're not!
You are loved regardless.
I have mentioned that I am an art therapist/teacher and that I love all things clay. I teach pottery as often as possible and do my own work when I can get to the studio. Working with your hands can be calming, centering and focusing. We do a lot of tactile play at home too.
Just the other morning my three year old beat me downstairs and had already gotten out the Citrus Fresh scented Aroma Dough we had made! She loves it. I keep the Stress Away scented kind in my purse to hand to her when she needs something to squeeze and be entertained with in different places! (think shopping carts while waiting in checkout lines!) Play dough can also be integrated into learning for preschoolers- make snake letters or shapes out of it, or draw or write in it. Discuss and sculpt body parts and faces too. Working in different modalities solidifies and encourages learning. Tactile play and homemade play dough got kicked up a notch when essential oils found their way into it!
Making homemade playdough is relatively easy and if you do the kind where you cook it on the stove it lasts so long! Here is the recipe that I use and that lots of other sites claim to love too:
Play Dough Recipe:
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoon cream of tartar (find it in the spice section)
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
Mix first 4 ingredients in a pan. Add water and mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 – 5 minutes. Dough will become difficult to stir and form a “clump”. Remove from stove and knead for 5 minutes–add food coloring if so desired during kneading process. Play dough will keep for a long time stored in a covered plastic container or plastic sandwich bag. I took this write up from another site. You’ll see on her site she suggests adding cinnamon to the dough for a multi-sensory experience.
I couldn’t resist going one step further and I split the dough four ways and added four different colors and four different scents to it. When we had a playdate each of the kids got to each enjoy different scents and trade and share and decide which was their favorite! Some oils that worked well in the Play Dough and can translate to smooth and calm play time:
Citrus Fresh (in the old kit),
R.C. (in the new kit),
You can use different scents at different times depending on the effect you are looking for! Peppermint would be a great one for during homework breaks to boost alertness! And Stress Away is great for mommies and kids during those homework breaks!
For more fun activities like these that are kid friendly follow me on Instagram or Join my Facebook group!
I am an eat, play, work at home Mom- a part time new-mom's support facilitator- full time dreamer of clay- an all the time thinker- a trained art therapist- and a home biz empower-er who never has enough minutes in the day, clay in my hands or ideas in my brain to create all the things! Also: I am mildly invested in our families health using nature's tools! Just kidding. That's my passion and message for others: Your life is essential. Take back your health!
Follow on Instagram: