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Intentional Living

Gut Health….The Missing Link?

March 22, 2017

I’m a HUGE fan of the Ultimate Bundles. I love how they compile the best of the best into one package on varying topics and cut out the need to hunt out worthwhile resources. I’ve kicked myself a time or two when I missed out on snagging one of their bundles and it ain’t happening this time around!

This bundle is incredibly exciting to me personally as you’ll discover more in the post below. Because I think it’s such a fabulous one I whole-heartedly believe in, I signed up to be an affiliate. That means if you use my link and decide the bundle is right for you, I receive a commission. I am not someone who typically endorses any product or company UNLESS I’ve seen their value to not only myself but how it can be of huge value to others. This was one of those times and I can’t wait to work through the bundle and for it to bless those who need it!

Enough prefacing, let’s get to the post. 🙂

You’ve replaced your household cleaners with non-toxic products. You use alternative health remedies. You eat whole foods, avoid refined sugars, and exercise regularly.

And yet, you still feel like something’s missing when it comes to your health…but what on earth could it be?

I’ve had the same thoughts myself.

Years after going gluten and dairy free, I started to feel pretty good, but certainly not great. Then I decided to go deeper into identifying dietary culprits for my various symptoms, which led me to the AIP Protocol.

This eating plan basically blew the lid off everything I thought I knew about my own body and ESPECIALLY my gut/intestines/digestive system – whatever you want to call it. As someone who had THREE colonoscopies before age 25 and had to take daily Miralax for over a decade, you’d have thought I would’ve stumbled upon gut healing long long ago.

After researching and researching everything led me back to gut healing. It was truly shocking and I stand convinced that poor gut health is the main cause of our specific infertility. And my jaw has dropped so many times in my studies as poor gut health is linked with so many other illnesses today.

Is it possible that one of the most unglamorous organs is behind so many health problems?

Here’s the thing: poor gut health isn’t pretty, especially if you’re fighting leaky gut syndrome, allergies, or fuzzy brain – all symptoms of a gut that isn’t doing what it’s designed to do and symptoms I put up with for far too long.

It can already feel a bit daunting to work on healing your digestive issues (since it can take a while to fully get there!) but then to spend time searching for practical solutions at a price you can afford? Yea, no. Who has time to scour the internet for 3-4 hours a day searching for gut healing remedies from reliable sources? Tried that…wasn’t sustainable and it was just confusing or out of price range for us.

But what if, just for six days, everything you need (and then some) came together in one magical package, for the most affordable price ever? Well, we’re in luck, because that’s exactly what’s happening and I’m telling you, this bundle what I wish I would’ve had a year ago.

The Gut Health Super Bundle includes 16 ebooks, 5 eCourses, 3 videos, and 1 massive summit full of expert videos.

These top-quality resources cover everything you need to heal your gut… tummy-soothing recipes, meal plans, quick-start guides, in-depth education, and so much more.

For less than the cost of some high-quality probiotics, you’ll get a complete library to help you:

  • End your digestive complaints (you know what they are)
  • Identify your own trigger foods and how to eat for digestibility
  • Discover how to make gut-healing fermented foods at home – and cheaply!
  • Choose the best probiotics and other supplements
  • Simplify your meal planning routine with gut-healing recipes and meal plans
  • and finally get your health back.

Plus, it comes with $40 worth of bonus offers for tummy-friendly, real food products. (When I saw the Kettle & Fire Bone Broth as a bonus – I was instantly sold.)

Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit their website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this package, then click the “Get my copy now!” button to go through their simple and secure 3-step checkout process.
  2. You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, and redeeming your free bonus offers.
  3. Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the topic you want to tackle first and start the healing journey!

The most important detail, though, is that this bundle is available for just six days! After Monday night, March 27th, the sale ends and you’d have to buy all of these products individually.

I’d hate for you to miss out, so click HERE to learn more or buy the bundle.

It’s even backed by a 100% happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you.

No one should put up with poor digestive health because it costs too much or they can’t get the help they need.

Embracing a healthy lifestyle is an important first step. But to really experience holistic health, you need to get your digestive system back on track.

Learn more or get your bundle HERE .

Below I am including a list of everything it includes so you can see it all laid out!

Foundations of Gut Health

  • Heal Your Gut Summit by Dr. Eric Zielinski $99.00
  • How to Heal a Broken Gut Masterclass by Spark Health $27.00

Getting Started

  • 14-Day Gut Reset by Chloe Breczinski $10.00
  • Zero Effort Gut Health: 10 Shockingly Easy Changes Anyone Can Make For Better Gut Health! by Dena Norton $8.99
  • Heal Your Gut Program by Lee Holmes $59.00
  • Heal Your Gut Starter Kit by Allison Nichols $47.00

Gut-Healing Foods

  • Broth for Breakfast (and Every Meal of the Day): Amazing Broth-Based Recipes for Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker and Stove Top by Katie (Wellness Mama) $19.00
  • Oh Lardy’s Guide to Fermenting Fruits & Veggies by Tamara Mannelly $9.99
  • Resistant Starch 101 by Heather Dessinger $5.99
  • Lacto-Fermentation eCourse {mini} by Wardee Harmon $40.00
  • Kombucha Bone Broth Secrets: And Other Hacks to Upgrade Your Bone Broth by Dave Lindenbaum $47.00

Conditions

  • Disease-Free Revolution by Ron Garner $4.61
  • Solving the IBS Puzzle: A Patient’s Guide to Treating IBS from Diagnosis to Treatment by Sylvie McCracken $9.99
  • How Your Gut Heath Affects Your Hormone Health (and What to Do About It) by Bridgit Danner $27.00

Candida

  • Candida on Ice: 20 Sugar-Free Ice Creams and Cold Treats by Paula Miller $7.95
  • The Paleo Guide to Beating Candida Naturally: Your Comprehensive Guide to Getting Rid of Candida and Keeping it That Way by Will Nicolson $12.99

GAPS

  • Beyond Grain & Dairy: Delicious, Nutritious Real Food Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free Recipes from Main Dishes to Desserts by Starlene D. Stewart $24.97
  • Gut-Healing Starter Pack by Cara Comini $75.00

Grain Free

  • 7 Simple Steps to Better Grain Free Baking by Kelly Smith $8.95
  • Go Grain Free by Dr. Jill Tieman $67.00

Additional Recipes

  • Gut Balancing Recipes: Eat Your Way to Better Health, Glowing Skin, and Better Moods by Dr. Karen Lee $14.99
  • Keto-Adapted by Maria Emmerich $14.99
  • Mind & Body Balancing by Kari Owens $13.97
  • Muddled: Paleo & AIP Mocktails to Nourish Your Body & Soul by Amanda Torres, MS $14.99
  • Nourishing Holiday: Grain-Free, Gut-Healing Food for Every Celebration by Jaclyn Harwell $24.97

PLUS These Bonuses

  • 2 free cartons of bone broth from Kettle & Fire ($24 value), $7.99 shipping, available within the U.S. only
  • $20 gift card to Get Kombucha ($20 value), $6.95 shipping within the U.S., international shipping rates apply
Intentional Living, Money

One Simple Thing to Dramatically Reduce Your Anxiety

January 25, 2016

Your future. Your past. That big decision you’ve got coming up. Work. Holidays. Kids going off to school. Travel. Your living situation. There is no shortage of sources of anxiety and worry and stress in our lives.

What if there was one thing you could do that would affect every aspect of your life and make each one easier? Would you do it?

What if it took a little discipline? A little time? A little saying “no” to one thing so you could say “yes” to another? Would you still do it? Or would you rather keep living a more stressful life?

I hope you’re committed to severely reducing stress and are ready to do this.

The one thing you can do to dramatically reduce the anxiety you feel in every area of your life is:
Budgeting.

That’s right. Budgeting your money affects every area of your life for the better and reduces anxiety, worry, and stress. Here’s how:

Budgeting – creating a plan for your money and sticking to it – takes the guesswork and the worry out of your money. And because money touches every part of our lives, when we make money easier and more pleasurable to work with, we make every part of our lives easier and more pleasurable.

  • If there are money issues from your past, budgeting helps you clean them up and move on.
  • Big decisions to be made? Budgeting gives you the freedom to make the best choice – either by enabling you to save money up or simply using money more wisely – so the best choice – even if it’s something with a financial impact like quitting your job to start a new career – can be made.
  • Stressed out because there’s always more cool stuff to do with your family or roommates than there is money to do it with? Budgeting patches the “leaks” in your wallet so there’s more to use AND trains you to prioritize your activities so you can identify and choose what’s most important for you to do.
  • Big projects at work got you stressed? Budgeting works your planning muscle, which you’ll be able to flex in all sorts of situations!

Now that you’re sold on the benefits of budgeting (or at least interested), here are some quick tips for getting started:

  1. Budgeting is easier than you think.
    • You can do this.
  2. It’s a simple income – outflow equation.
    • Take the money you have (income) and plan how (groceries, cell phone bill, etc) you’ll spend it (outflow). Your planned spending cannot exceed your income.
  3. Every month is (slightly) different, so every budget you create should be (slightly) different.
  4. Start With Cash
    • While budgeting software like YNAB and Every Dollar can be very handy, it’s probably best for you to start out using cash and the envelope system (grocery envelope, clothes envelope, etc. one envelope for each budget category) so you can feel your money.
  5. Be Ready to Say No
    • Budgeting helps you set priorities and stick to them, which means it involves saying no to some things (like going out with your roommates, again) so you can do other, more important things (like saving for a car, or paying off debt). Your “yes” to better things will involve “no’s” to lesser things. Be ready. (And don’t feel bad about it!)
  6. Be Patient
    • It’s going to take a little while (3 months or so) to get a good handle on the right amount for your budget categories. Don’t get discouraged in the meantime. And don’t feel bad if you need to adjust your amounts. Just make sure it all evens out. (Adding $10 to one category means taking it from somewhere else).
  7. Ask for Help
    • Getting started with budgeting can be intimidating. Don’t be afraid to ask someone you know who’s been budgeting for a while for help. They’ll be glad to help. You’ve always got our contact form, too.
Intentional Living

How I Choose Gratitude When I Really Don’t Feel Like It

November 24, 2015

I will be the first to admit that gratitude does not come easily to me. Blame it on my melancholic temperament, my fallen human nature, or some combination of both.

It’s just not where my mind goes, dagnabbit.

I’ve had to learn to choose gratitude just like making any other adult choice in life…like choosing to budget, do the dishes, or pray. I had to learn to choose it because gratitude is good for me just like those other things.

Why is gratitude good for us?

If you dig into the secular research, gratitude can seriously change your life. From boosting your energy and happiness levels to being less depressed and envious, it packs a positive punch when part of your daily rhythm. Being a grateful person will spill over its irrefutable effects into almost every area of your life.

From a spiritual standpoint, God encourages gratitude.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Col 3:16

He wants us to be grateful because it’s the only place from which we can truly comprehend and realize all the lavish gifts he’s given to us. It’s a necessary platform for receiving his grace and not taking anything for granted. In other words, it allows us to grow in deep spiritual maturity.

But why is it so freaking hard to choose?

Because brokenness.

Being grateful requires virtue, which our human nature likes to rebel against. It’s a whole lot easier to be envious, negative, jealous, bitter, fearful, untrusting, angry, and entitled than it is to be grateful.

Especially in times of trial! One act of gratitude while suffering is worth far more than numerous shouts of praise in a season of blessing.

Even if you aren’t suffering, reflecting on things to be grateful for is typically forgotten in the business of life. It’s easy to take things for granted, especially in our American culture that runs a million miles a minute. Being grateful takes intentionality and that requires discipline and sacrifice…again, something pretty tough for most people.

So how do I become grateful?

Just be strong and do it.

OK that’s great if we all had wills of iron but for us average folk, that just ain’t gonna cut it. What practical things do I do to grow in gratitude?

Start a gratitude journal. For a few minutes each day, write down the things, people, relationships, situations, etc. that you find yourself thankful for. Just this simple act of recalling ALL THE THINGS you have to be grateful for in your life will change your attitude and perspective.

Verbally express gratitude with others. Whether it’s with a friend, spouse, relative, or stranger, specifically verbalize your gratitude out loud for something they did.

Stop complaining!!!! Ugh. We all hate complainers and have to fight hard to not become one ourselves as easy as it can be. Airing your gripes every now and again is alright but the more it becomes a habit, the more it decreases your levels of gratitude.

Pray for it. Beg God to transform your heath to one that is grateful for all that he gives you. Ask him to help you notice the people, places, and things in which you can be grateful for.

Write thank you notes. Sometimes you don’t get the opportunity to verbally express your gratitude for a person, so why not write a thank you note to them?! It’s a good habit to get into and who doesn’t LOVE receiving a letter of thanks?

Become a student of gratitude. You can read about growing in gratitude in scripture, books, from the saints, or everyday mentors. For example, check out a video on gratitude by Zig Ziglar:

Doing just these simple and small things have had a huge impact on me (especially when we were going through the darkest phases of infertility and I didn’t think I had anything to be grateful for). It was easy to be upset and angry but I learned that through CHOOSING gratitude, despite my circumstances, I am much happier and joyful. 

This week is Thanksgiving…no better a time to begin making steps to growing gratitude and its effects in your life!

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” St. Ambrose

Happy Thanksgiving!

Intentional Living

3 Reasons You Need To Read Money Making Mom

November 3, 2015

If you aren’t reading Crystal’s blog, Money Saving Mom, or following her on social media, you are absolutely missing out. This lady has helped me save money and live more intentionally on countless occasions. To say she is an inspiration to me as a wife, mother, and entrepreneur is the understatement of the century.

The past couple weeks have been really exciting because I had the honor and privilege to be on the launch team for a new book – Money-Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference. The book is all about how to earn an income as a mom, outside of the typical 8-5 job, and all the challenges, opportunities, and responsibilities that come with that.

Part of being on the launch team meant getting to read her new book early. The book was so great, I literally devoured it in under four days. I am so excited to share with you 3 reasons I think Money-Making Mom is worth your time as well.

one woman

1. Healthy Financial Perspective

Sometimes in the business world, you will hear things like:

  • Use debt to start and grow your business
  • Create profit, profit, and more profit for the sake of profit
  • If it’s what you want, pursue success no matter the cost

Well that is the opposite of Crystal’s book. She strongly suggests starting slowly and within one’s financial means without debt. That’s her own story of how she grew her brand and she wants others to experience the blessing and freedom that comes with being financially free.

She also highlights the beautiful opportunity to earn an income and be a blessing to your family but also to others. Giving is an entire chapter in this book and for good reason – we have a deep need to give to others and it brings us immense joy and satisfaction when we do. Earning money as a mom gives us the ability to be even more generous with others in our community and world.

Lastly, she stresses work-life balance and keeping your priorities in check. She doesn’t advocate chasing every money-making opportunity available, but discerning the right ones that fit your family and values.

grow

2. Get To Know Thyself

Earning income as a mom can come in as varied of a package as there are moms out there. How YOU may be called specifically to create income for your family (if at all!) is unique to your own gifts, talents, and desires.

In the book, Crystal actively guides you through self-reflection on this topic. In asking myself the big questions she poses, I felt like I was getting to know myself better. I was able to see how God uniquely crafted me and how he might want to use my gifts and talents in the world. She helped put me in touch with my passions and the reasons why I do what I do.

Knowing the answers to these questions will help make sense of any opportunity you are given to earn income for your family. Through knowing who you are, you will be free to pursue your work with passion and vision.

show up

3. How To Be Your Own Boss

Lastly, the book dives into the topic of some practical how-to’s and what business opportunities might be available for women who desire to work for themselves. What I love about this section is that it not only inspires but doesn’t shy away from the cold hard fact that starting and maintaining a business is HARD WORK.

I think it’s easy to glorify business owners or entrepreneurs as people who happened to be in the “right place at the right time.” That’s almost never true. It takes an unbelievable amount of energy and focus to get an idea off the ground and to grow it into a successful business.

Money-Making Mom: How Every Woman Can Earn More and Make a Difference explores the details of how to take your ideas and turn them into something bigger. You can follow the action points provided and walk towards taking what’s in your head and creating an opportunity with potential to earn income. Whether its blogging, an online business, a brick-and-mortar storefront, or direct sales – there are questions in this book that will get your wheels turning about how to get started or take what you currently have to the next level.

And there you have it.

Although I am currently a stay-at-home mom-ish (I do still work for FOCUS – Fellowship of Catholic University Students on special projects) this book got me really thinking about other opportunities to earn some income for our family. Time will tell where it takes me but I am very excited about some current ideas that are brewing. 🙂

What’s even more exciting is that TODAY is actually launch day for this book. If you are thinking about earning money either part-time or full-time as a Momma, check this one out and explore where God might be calling you.

I would love to hear your feedback as to what you think of it, so keep in touch as you read it!

Intentional Living

Is This Book Revolutionary or Just A Useless Fad? The Wrap Up

September 29, 2015

Here’s my final review post on the amazing book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. 

life-changing-magic-of-tidying-up

In case you are just joining us, check out the first post in which I discuss the book and provide a general overview. Next, I started tackling categories in our house using her tactics. Lastly, I wrote about how to fold clothes according to the KonMari Method. Here in this last post, we will wrap it all up with a few last minute pointers and my overall thoughts on the book as a whole.

What other nuggets did I find in the book?

Once you have tidied, she encourages everything to have a designated home. “The point in deciding specific places to keep things is to designate a spot for every thing.” She says this part of tidying will take far less time than the actual process of tidying. I am finding this to be true. Once I know what I’ve got, it’s pretty easy to give that object(s) a home.

Now…making sure I always put it in its home is another issue.

She says that, “The reason every item must have a designated place is because the existence of an item without a home multiplies the chances that your space will become cluttered again.” I see the wisdom in this. Things like loose change, mail, papers, bobby pins, etc. have a habit of making their way all around the house on dressers, desks, and table tops…AKA cluttering up my surfaces. By making sure they make it to their homes, I prevent clutter from every occurring again.

She then goes on to discuss storage and to keep things simple. 

In reflection,once I applied her methods of tidying by category and not location, I gained a sense of control. It’s as if I finally knew what I had and where it was located. Truly a freeing task! I was able to see duplicates and items we no longer needed that had been stored away collecting dust.

Discarding things that did not “spark joy” was my favorite part, since it felt like a weight was lifted with every bag filled for donation. Knowing we are surrounded by items that bring joy and we need is wonderful. It’s a simple way to live and I don’t want our home any other way now. I can see why she claims that no one reverts back to their old ways once she’s done with them! 🙂

Although we are not done tidying our home (she said it takes an average of 6 months to do!) we eagerly await the day when we’re finished. I don’t believe this book is simply a fad. I think it will be revolutionary in America, where we typically have so much excess in our homes.  We’re on board and hope to keep living according to most of the Kon-Mari principles as the years go by!

If you end up reading this book, let me know what you think too!

Intentional Living

How to Fold Clothes with the KonMari Method

September 22, 2015

Wow.

Wow. Wow. Wow.

(If you don’t know where that phrase comes from tune into this commercial and wait for 1:50 where Jonathan has his breakout acting moment / a catch phrase was born.)

This tidying up has been tough work. In America, when we discuss tidying, most people think of dusting and picking up some toys. That’s not what  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up means. In the book, when KonMari talks about tiding, she really means “gutting your house” which is far more extereme…and necessary if one is actually going to see results and make permanent changes.

We tackled clothing this past weekend. It’s fairly easy to discern which clothing “sparks joy” but it just seems like there is so much of it! We started out by sorting Josephine’s clothes and that took us several hours. Doing our own wardrobes was even harder (especially since I am still nursing and haven’t worn or fit into several items in close to a year because of weight gained thanks to the meds I take for induced lactation).

In this post, we will discuss KonMari’s methods when it comes to tidying your clothing and storing it. Let’s do this thang.

First things first, you must ask yourself, “What things will bring you you if you keep them as part of your life?” Once you get into that mindset, you are ready to begin.

KonMari recommends gathering every. single. item. of clothing you own and piling it all in one place. Don’t leave any piece out of the pile, since she says if you find something after you’ve done that category, you must discard it since it wasn’t important enough to remember in the first place. (Unless it’s in the laundry.) So grab all your winter coats, old t-shirts, bins in the attic of off-season attire, etc. Get it all together and thrown into a giant pile to start sorting.

mountain clothes

(That’s not ACTUALLY our clothes. You would’ve seen our clothing pile but Wrigley, our dog, ate the photo memory card.)

She then places an emphasis on every item needing to be handled. By picking up each item individually you can more readily discern if it bring you joy.

Once you’ve sorted your way through the pile, take a brief rest because the hard and satisfying part is about to begin. It’s time to begin implementing the KonMari folding technique. She’s very specific about how to fold and store your clothes to get the most from your space but also more easily visualize your items.

The key to storing things in to stand them up as opposed to laying flat in the drawer. 

Mind. Blown.

I don’t know why we never thought of this before but immediately upon folding and storing per her instructions, I could feel order being restored to our dressers.

Let’s go over how to fold your clothes, KonMari style:

tshirt-folding

pants-folding

And now how to stack them in the drawer:

DSC06636

Once you’ve mastered the dressers, where she encourages most of your clothes to be, she moves on to closets. KonMari suggests that clothes go into the closet according to their category. Tops are with other tops and pants are with pants, etc. Overall, the clothes should rise to the right, creating a more comforting feeling.

There are a few other small tips, such as never ever balling up your socks since it stresses them out….but we’re just not implementing that one. I like to fold socks by balling them up and that’s how it will be. I’ll get a shoe box and keep them neatly contained but we are a sock balling family for life.

And that’s how to tidy your clothing. Intense but very freeing once it’s done. Knowing I can now go to my closet and find only things I love is incredible. No more “hating my clothes” like I used to say. And being able to have breathing room in my closet and drawers is amazing. Goodbye are the days of crammed up closets and drawers stuffed to the point of overflowing.

I can see why she calls this stuff “life-changing magic!” 🙂