Monday, December 2, 2013

Wickedly natural

It seems the earthy-crunchy fairy snuck up on me when I had my back turned. She smacked me with with a good bit of fairy-force and her cruelty-free, fair-trade wand and flew away before I could blink. For some women, this wouldn't be a big upheaval, but hey... have you ever seen a picture of me? Yeah, I don't go so light on the makeup. I also don't wear Birks. And even though I've given up Aluminum-laden deodorant, I haven't given up deodorant all together. It's just a more natural alternative that I use now, which happens to work better for me. But, I'll never, ever, ever give up my makeup! Not unless I wake up looking 18 again, and even then I'm know I'm going to want some eye shadow, blush, and lip gloss. That Southern part of me will never change.

I think what started it all was the pottery. **Nodding head** That had to be it. A little over a year ago, I sat down at a pottery wheel and discovered life on the green side may not be so bad. Or maybe it was when I started getting interested in Feng Shui about fifteen years ago. Either way, now when someone comes into my home, they're just as likely to hear Tibetan Singing Bowls playing in the background, as they are Adele or Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. There would also be the smells of essential oils wafting through the house from the oil burner that I made myself... or the cute one I bought on Amazon.

If you're wondering why I'm even bothering to write about this, it's because I think it's worth knowing.

The first little change was when coconut oil came it into my life. I read that it was really good to use in place of lotion, that it was a medium-chain triglyceride, and can basically replace plasma... lol... OK, that last one was taken slightly out of context, but it is a wonder oil. So, I grabbed a little 14 ounce jar at my grocery, and the rest is history. Now I have it set up to arrive in two big 54 ounce tubs every month through Amazon. This stuff has so many uses that I'm not going to even begin to list them all, but if you're wondering what it can specifically do just Google "The uses of coconut oil." I promise you, you'll be surprised. One of my favorites, though, is my homemade Magic Shell... it puts the grocery store stuff to shame. No, I'm not humble. Did you ever think I was?

Once the coconut oil became established in my pantry and bathroom cabinet, it seemed to pull some sort of ethereal power from the universe which then pushed out the fluoride and parabens. I switched my toothpaste from Crest (with fluoride) to Nature's Gate... do y'all know just how bad fluoride is? I switched out my body wash, shampoo, and perfumes. I then replaced my paraben-ridden body lotion with a brand called "Hempz" that's got this great little pot leaf on the front and smells good enough to eat. *Disclaimer: there is no THC in the lotion. Sorry, folks.

Then I attacked the items I was using on my face, one by one. Out went the facial washes and creams that have more bad ingredients than good in them. No wonder I have adult acne! Once I was aware of the ingredients and the potentially harmful affects, it just made sense to remove the threats where I could. The marketing departments of all the popular cosmetics companies were really doing their job though, because I had no problem remaining ignorant for years. But... "From small beginnings come great things." Now I rely on Amazon for items that are more natural, with the added bonus of being much cheaper, AND surprisingly, they actually work better than the Philosophy, Clinique, Smashbox, Estee Lauder, and all the other expensive brands that were hanging out in my makeup tool box. Between these changes and using the Clarisonic Mia and Opal that my oh-so-sweet and generous sister sent me months ago, I am now actually seeing the wrinkles diminishing, the spots fading, and the acne calming down. I'm now using oil cleansing and Dudu-Osan black soap instead of ProActiv. I switch them up in the morning and at night, and I love it!

As you may or may not know, I had a spinal fusion about 15 years ago. It wasn't a little fusion. It required a bone graft from my hip, metal cages placed at three levels in my lower spine, and a few months of recovery. It went perfectly, though, and gave me back my life for the next 13 years. About a year and a half ago that changed. All it took was the wrong angle with just the right weight and something seriously went wrong. It's been a long road since then, but I've survived and so has my wicked sense of humor. Thankfully, so has my marriage, too! About eight months ago, the chief orthopedic surgeon at the local military hospital told me I needed another fusion, but that I needed to put it off as long as I possibly could. Because of my age... I ain't THAT old yet, but the fact that it's already fused at three levels, it's just going to get worse, and they can't fuse my whole spine. So, I regularly see a pain management specialist who shoots me up with steroids and gets to poke tortuously long needles in my spine, all the while playing his favorite music in the background. He's cool, though, and I appreciate how he helps manage my pain. I recently talked to a psychiatrist and took a test to see if I was crazy enough for a permanent implant, of which of course I am! This implant will change the pain signals to a pleasant tingling. That'll happen right after the New Year, and a tingling I will be! After that procedure, I think I'll be able to give the Bionic Woman a run for her money.

With this sense of desperation for a reduced-pain life, I decided to attack it not only from the outside with pain killers (don't judge, please), but also from the inside with my diet choices. I'm now incorporating foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and learning more and more that Mother Nature IS smarter than man.

Which leads me to my most recent plight of using natural methods to relieve an issue: Oil pulling! You see, I've got gum recession right smack dab in the front on my lower teeth. It seems it's always been like that, no matter how much I brushed or flossed. At my last dental checkup, the dentist told me I needed a gum graft or one of the teeth might just get loose and fall out. Well, I don't think I can make that look work, and  I almost went to the specialist, but as fate would have it I put it off for good reason until February. It's odd how things can randomly happen.... or is it? Now, considering I'm already battling a good deal of pain on a daily basis, I'll be damned if I let them do one of the most excruciatingly painful procedures known to man or woman. Haaaaail NO! Can you tell how emphatically I feel about this? I would rather go through childbirth again. So, I Googled "Curing gum recession" and up popped about five thousand references to oil pulling. Basically, you take a tablespoon of oil (Coconut, Sesame, Sunflower... whichever you prefer) swish it around in your mouth for 15 minutes, and let the oil do its magic. Then you rinse with warm sea-salt water, and finally brush your teeth. Not only does it help your entire mouth and whiten your teeth, but it also detoxifies your body. I'm on my fourth day, and so is my husband. I dragged him into my experiment, and in turn, he's going to balance my Chakras. Laugh and roll your eyes if you want, but I'm determined to be THAT annoying woman ten years from now, telling everyone how I was almost in a wheelchair, as I'm eating granola out of an eco-conscious container and strapping on my number for the local marathon. Oh, who am I kidding... I don't like running in any dimension, but I AM going to repair the damage and be all the stronger for it.

It's scary how much we turn a blind eye to what we put in and on our bodies. While I'm not giving up every single vice, I am making significant changes. The last two months have been the biggest leap into living more naturally, but I actually started incorporating small changes about a year and a half ago. With the smallest changes, I was able to stick with it until I was ready to add more things. There's been no shock to my system, or my family. I'm currently waiting on an order of essential oils to be used for everything from pain relief, acne treatment, and just making the house smell nice. Now, if I could just get the tater-tot to eat her vegetables, life would be grand.

If you've got any health issues, or dental issues, what can it hurt to try a natural remedy? YouTube and Google are your friends. While most are not overnight cures, you might be surprised to find out that some natural remedies work faster than you can get in for an appointment with your doctor these days. If you have your own natural remedy for an ailment, please post a comment as I'd love to know, and it might just help someone else, too.