Sick and Aching in the Ameri Brit House

img_4326

One thing I can never seem to defend my family against is the gamut of germs that accompany the month of November. Every year at about this time, viruses take up residence in my home and as much as I try to prevent illnesses from running rampant, it still happens. For two weeks I’ve felt on the verge of infection. I’m lethargic and achy.

I’ve tried to combat these unwanted microscopic guests with essential oils, vitamins, exercise, and a natural diet. Yet, here I am at 6:00pm on a weekday, sipping on soup and ready to send off to bed.

Living in the Midwest has its downfalls. The sun escapes the sky shortly after work hours. My daylight is spent in a classroom, and I attribute most of my zapped energy to lack of natural vitamin D. Winter is upon us, and the need for a healthy diet and routine are imperative.

I’m really hoping my new Gluten-free/Paleo diet will help this year. I’ve read that the natural ingredients in a caveman diet (Paleo) will aide in the increase of energy and help fight contagious illnesses. Here’s to hoping and praying that God will use this new diet plan to help myself and my family during this critical time of the year.

Is anyone else feeling down with the winter blues already? How do you combat this weather and keep your family healthy?

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Five Minute Friday: Journey

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Journey. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

journey-600x600

I’m on a journey to whole health. Last week I wrote about my decision to go gluten free for a month to see if I exhibit any noticeable results. Since then I’ve continued to abstain from gluten and have removed processed foods from my diet as well. I am currently reading and researching the Whole30 diet. That would involve narrowing my food choices down to meat, vegetables, fruit, and oils, but am not entirely committing to the Whole 30 diet until January as it is unwise to try anything that drastic over the holidays.

I’ve been pinning recipes and injecting more organic foods to my pantry and cooking menus. My husband has even been inspired and plans to join me in whatever dietary plan I land on. It’s no secret that I love to eat. I’ve hardly met a dish I didn’t like. So years of poor food choices and inherited genes have led me to a place where I am unhappy. I am unhappy with how I feel, what I eat, and how I look which is why I’m taking back control of my eating habits.

I’m on a journey to cleanse my body of the buildup of toxins. I’m on a journey to purge my mind of toxic thoughts and emotions. I’m on a journey to whole health that extends beyond what I choose to eat to include educated decisions about feeding my family and feeding my mind. As I go through this journey, I’ve been tracking my meals and reactions. After just a week and a half I’m already reporting feeling more full and energetic and less digestive tract discomfort.

I’m looking to start a social media group over the holiday season for others who are looking for relief from their symptoms. The goal of the group would be to share recipes and gain accountability in our whole health journeys. Be on the lookout for more information in the future about this group and my personal journey.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Five Minute Friday: Eat

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Eat. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

coffee-600x600

I’m new to this gluten-free thing.

After months of struggling with weight and digestive issues I’ve decided to give gluten-free eating a try. Over the past couple of years I’ve noticed some changes to my metabolism and eating habits and I’ve been unhappy with the way my body has been reacting to the food I’ve been putting into it. Auto-immune disorders that run in my family also factored into this decision.

Several people I know have been eating gluten-free for a wide range of reasons and it’s been recommended by so many of them that I give it a shot. I was reluctant at first because one of my favorite foods is bread. My second favorite food is cake. I put off trying a gluten-free diet out of convenience. However, after a weekend of feeling pretty crummy I decided to try gluten-free for one month and see if I notice any difference to the way I feel.

My mom and best friend have both experimented with gluten-free diets and have been successful. I’ve turned to them for advice on where to find food and meals. Since I launched this new diet on Monday I’ve realized that eating gluten-free isn’t as big of a hassle as I had thought. Sure, there are some sacrifices to be made, but gluten-free has become so mainstream that many restaurants and grocers offer items tailored for such diets.

I know that cutting gluten is a newer approach to treating digestive tract disorders, auto-immune disorders and other health conditions. Many of you have years of experience under your belt. Today I would love to hear from you. I’m seeking advice on where to shop, what to buy, and what to eat. I covet recipes and any information those of you knowledgeable in the gluten-free world.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Five Minute Friday: Cheer

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Cheer. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

boyfriend-600x600

Over the past week and a half I have suffered from a major allergy flare up. Three years ago I began to develop seasonal allergies, but it remained relatively mild until recently. As the weather switched from hot-and-muggy to cool-and-wet and back to hot-and-muggy my sinuses decided to rebel. With the abrupt change of weather my allergies caused me to cough and sneeze uncontrollably. Before long I finally decided to visit the doctor.

A student of mine had been diagnosed with pertussis and after googling symptoms of the nasty disease I convinced myself that the whooping cough was my own prognosis as well. (Curse you, Web MD!)

Last Thursday I was prescribed two medications to keep my allergies at bay, but they were too far gone. As my conditions worsened it became clear to me that not only did I have an allergy flare up but that infections had developed as a result. A few days later I found myself in the urgent care with an ear infection as well as an infection that had developed in my chest. I never knew that allergies could lead to infections, but we will call this a lesson learned.

I’m now on five medications and an albuterol inhaler that I must use every four hours. I had a strep test and a breathing treatment on Tuesday. I’ve been exhausted for over a week partially due to the infections and partially due to the amount of medication I’ve been taking.

But I’m choosing to be cheerful throughout this bout of sickness.

I am cheerful because I began my summer vacation today. I am cheerful because after three pretty rough days I’m starting to clear up and feel a bit better. I am cheerful because I can tell that much of my energy is returning. And I am cheerful because God is still good even when I can’t take a deep breath on my own.

What do you have to be cheerful about today?

The Ameri Brit Mom

Five Apps For Your Whole Health

The end of the school year is near. There is a light at the tunnel, but I’m also approaching what we refer to in the teaching world as “crunch time.” It’s time to wrap up all of the loose ends, prepare for exams, assign final projects, and grade all of those things. I always get to this point that I want to kick myself for making so many due dates in the last days. I know from experience that the next few weeks are going to be rough on me. I will be spending my entire day for the next nine days doing what it takes to walk out of my classroom by the final bell on May 25th never to return again (until August, that is.) Summer is in sight, but currently my view is blocked by all of the to-dos.

Over the past couple of months I’ve been on a bit of a health kick. The beautiful weather coupled with my passion for running have helped to fuel my workouts and eating habits. One thing that has challenged my desire to get in shape has been time. I prefer to run long distances and strength train a few times a week. Having a full time job, a family to care for, and a writing hobby has made it a little tricky to find time to do everything I want in a day. The 21st century is a faster paced lifestyle than ever before and although we are making huge progress as humanity we are oftentimes neglecting the importance of balancing our individual health.

This Sunday I sat down with my Sunday Basket and organized my week being sure to schedule my workouts into my calendar as well. They are important enough to me to warrant planning ahead. A big part of wanting to focus on my health stems from my want to be happy. If you’ve ever had a kick-butt workout you know what I mean. It may nearly kill you, but the endorphins released in the workout help to make you a happier person overall. But our happiness isn’t dependent on physical fitness. In order to live a happy and fulfilled life we have to also focus on the other two parts of our health.

I’m learning a lot about what it means to focus on my whole self when it comes to health. When it comes to health there are many facets. Health includes the mind, body, and soul. If one of those parts of your health is lacking it throws your life off balance. There is a constant struggle happening for your whole health.

It is important to keep your mind sharp and challenged. Sometimes that means reading a book, researching an interest, taking part in an intellectually stimulating conversation, or anything else that stretches you beyond what you already know and leads you to experience something new.

Your body is the part that most focus on when they think about health, because it is the easiest one to see or control. As a minimum you should spend thirty minutes a day doing something active be that running, walking, lifting, cycling, climbing, swimming, etc. We were built to have regular fitness in our lives.

Lastly, the most neglected part of your being is your soul. How often do you invest time and energy into your soul? For some, this is a more regular occurrence than others. If I haven’t taken time for myself to read something inspiring, pray, interact in a community of people with similar beliefs then I feel off balance in every other area of my life. In a busy lifestyle this is the first aspect to get neglected, but it is also one of the most important to happiness.

Living in the 21st century can be a challenge, but it also has its perks. Lately, I’ve found myself turning to some apps for help in this balancing act. Below are five apps that have helped me in my own struggles to maintain the health of the whole me. 

Tk5cdz9f

Fitbit is one of my favorite apps. If you own a fitbit you know what I’m talking about. I love the daily challenges and the progress tracking the fitbit provides. Another feature I enjoy is being able to compete with friends via the app. Sometimes we all need a little extra motivation to get out and moving and fitbit helps to provide that through its goal-centered rewards and community of other users.

 

unnamed (3).png

Runkeeper goes beyond just tracking steps (like fitbit) and tracks my actual activity. Runkeeper is compatible with Fitbit. This is a recent download, but I’m really liking my introduction to its services. Some things that Runkeeper can do that Fitbit cannot are: track and save routes, provide personal records for activity, interval and split times, vocal prompts, if you are willing to pay a bit of cash they provide training programs specific to your goals. So far, I’ve basically used this app as an online running diary which allows me to track progress.

 

f9e61c52bcfe42e483e64e33c8a33e2905f17604

Sworkit is perfect for the workout enthusiast on the go. This app provides exercises for various regions of the body that require no equipment. To begin each workout you select the number of minutes you would like to workout and a target part of the body then it will go through several thirty-second exercises aimed at building strength in those areas with no weights or gym necessary. I’ve started using Sworkit after school in another teacher’s classroom before we go on runs. It kicks my butt every time and I love it.

 

L3ciji9R_400x400.png

She Reads Truth is one of my apps geared toward the health of my soul. I’ve used this app regularly for over a year. Using this app you have access to dozens of Bible Studies written by women and aimed at getting you into The Word on a daily basis. Most of the studies are free, but some cost a couple of bucks. It takes about ten minutes to complete a devotion on this site, but it is so worth the growth you will make in scripture knowledge and your outlook at as a woman.

 download (7)

Thrive Moms is a brand new app. Thrive Moms has been an online community for a few years, but they have only recently crossed over into the app store. Similar to She Reads Truth, this app provides short bible studies geared toward mothers of young children. Currently, I’m reading through a study that focuses on the stress of motherhood and how to rely on God through every challenge and not take yourself so seriously. The writers of this app really understand what it’s like to be a mother and all of the beauty, chaos, and mess attached to it. This app also provides information about local mother groups, access to prayer request submissions, and retreat material for girls’ nights.

I’m nowhere near achieving the perfect balance of my mind, body, and soul, but if we are all honest none of us really are. I hope these app resources help you feel a little more on top of it like I do. Words of wisdom: Love what you do and don’t be too hard on yourself!

Let me know if there are any other apps that you find to be particularly helpful in the building up of your mind, body, and soul.

Blessings in your pursuit of a wholesome you!

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Under the Weather/There’s an Oil for That!

IMG_2171

After a long weekend I was feeling refreshed and ready to take on the new week. Even if the outdoor thermostat was reading subzero temperatures this morning. I put on my new puffer vest and thick coat and braved the cold for a day of teaching. Things were going smoothly until lunch time. At a quarter til twelve my sister (AKA the babysitter) called my phone. Immediately, I knew something was wrong. Not because I’m a doomsday prepper, but rather because she never calls me if she needs anything. Texting is our mode of communication during the day since I’m usually unreachable in front of the classroom.

So I answer the phone and find out Arianna is sick.

She was puking and running a fever. Quickly, I switched from teacher-mode to mom-mode. I started to prep to take the afternoon off when my husband volunteered to take the half-day instead. We are lucky being teachers because not many professions give employees the ability to leave at a moment’s notice. Sam’s old school wasn’t as easy to take off from so one thing we have found that we love about working in our district is that they are extremely family-friendly and allow us to take time off to be there for our sick child.

Since she was running a high fever I decided to take my turn and call off for tomorrow. I stayed a little later today to run off substitute plans. It can get annoying to make plans for someone else, but nothing trumps staying home with a cuddly, sick girl.

I arrived home today to Arianna buried in the covers and Sam doing a fantastic job caring for her. He’s a great dad who always does his very best. We are lucky girls!

So the rest of the evening and tomorrow will be spent in the oils cabinet. I realize its been awhile since I last spoke about using essential oils. I’m constantly adding to my collection and even gifted some oils to people on my Christmas list. I’ve been using essential oils in place of over-the-counter medications for about a year now and I’ve found some great remedies through the process. A disclaimer before I discuss how I use oils, ALWAYS RESEARCH THE OILS BEFORE USE. SOME REQUIRE HEAVY DILUTION OR HAVE SPECIAL USE INSTRUCTIONS. MANY OILS ARE NOT SUITABLE FOR DIRECT USE ON CHILDREN OR WOMEN WHO ARE PREGNANT. ALSO KEEP IN MIND THAT EACH PERSON RESPONDS DIFFERENTLY TO OILS, SO RESULTS MAY VARY.

IMG_2111

First of all, over the Christmas season I received my first essential oil diffuser. I am absolutely in love with this product. All you have to do is fill the base with water to the fill line and add 4-6 drops of the desired oil. My diffuser can be in use for up to four hours. I also love the changing light colors. There is something therapeutic about the changing colors and cool mist. I love to sit in the bedroom with a good book while the diffuser is on. Since using the diffuser requires heavy dilution almost every oil is safe to use, but there are a few oils that children should not be exposed to aromatically, so again, do your research before using.

Some of my favorite oils to put in the diffuser are peppermint (for energy, upset stomach, headaches, and allergies), lemon (for anxiety, disinfectant, and stress), wild orange (for digestion, anxiety, and aroma), and lavender (for allergies, calming, skin, and sleep.)

Also, the last time I wrote about essential oils my husband was still a bit unsure about them. However, his mind has been changed. Instead of heading straight to the medicine cabinet when he doesn’t feel well he asks me for oils at the first sign of a headache or a sore muscle. Just a few moments ago he approached me for Deep Blue to rub on his muscles after a weight lifting circuit. He’s sold on the results and even trying to learn which oils to use when.

I’m still building my collection, but I am pleased with all of the oils I currently own.

Do you use essential oils? If so, which ones do you prefer?

 

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

Reblog: Quit Multitasking

simple-living

As a wife, mother, teacher, and friend I’ve learned to be quite the multi-tasker. Even as I sit here writing this post I am running the washing machine, have lunch cooking on the stove, and am watching my daughter shimmy into the clothes I laid out for her for the day. Multi-tasking isn’t an option. It is a way of life. However, my perspective on multi-tasking has been challenged through the blog post I am reblogging today from kindandsimpleblog.com.

This post speaks to the downfall of multi-tasking. It rocked my world when it began to talk about the art of multi-tasking as self-defeating. When 100% of our attention is pulled in different directions we are only able to devote portions of our focus to the task at hand. We think we are being more productive by doing more than one thing at a time, but really productivity comes from focusing on one thing before moving on to the next task. I really enjoyed this post. Please take a few minutes to read the article, Quit Multitasking. This article will really cause you to question your behaviors if you are anything like me!