dōTERRA’s Top 10 Oils

My first order with doTERRA was their Home Essentials Kit. I knew a little about essential oils, but was overwhelmed with where to start and this kit came with their 10 most popular oils which made it easy for me to introduce them into my routine, and a diffuser that I wanted.

The variety of essential oils and their uses can be a roadblock to start using them, so I wanted to share the top oils and how I use them to give you some ideas and make things a little more approachable!

Frankincense

Known as the “king of oils”, frankincense aromatically promotes feelings of overall wellness and relaxation, and when used topically or internally has a number of health benefits. Top properties are reducing the appearance of skin imperfections, supporting healthy cellular function, and encouraging a healthy immune, nervous, and digestive systems.

How I use it:
When I’m feeling the slightest bit of a cold coming on, I put a drop of Frankincense along with On Guard in a capsule and take internally. I also use it on cuts and burns by diluting it with coconut oil in a roller ball and applying to the affected area.

Lavender

Most know for it’s relaxation properties, lavender is a wonderful tension easier. Aside from the peaceful emotion it promotes, this oil is a go-to for skin irritations

How I use it:
Lavender is a staple in my bedroom diffuser, and if I’m feeling more restless than usual I’ll run a drop into the bottoms of my feet or place a drop on my pillow. I use lavender along with Frankincense for burns and cuts.

Lemon

A popular citrus oil, lemon naturally cleanses the air and physical surfaces, even cleansing the body and supporting healthy digestion. It’s light yet invigorating scent promotes a positive mood. As most citrus oils, take caution when using lemon topically and avoid direct sunlight or UV rays on area of application.

How I use it:
To clean! I add lemon to my mildew spray shower cleaner which contains 1/2 water 1/2 vinegar, 15 drops lemon, 10 drops melaleuca/tea tree, and 10 drops peppermint.

Melaleuca

I see melaleuca as one of those jack-of-all-trades oils. Top properties include cleansing effects on the skin, promoting healthy immune function, and protection against environmental and seasonal threats.

How I use it:
Most frequently I use melaleuca to clean. I already mentioned the mildew spray, but it’s a big part of my countertop spray along with On Guard and lemon. Secondly I add it to coconut oil and lavender for bruises.

Oregano

Oregano is one of the most potent and powerful oils and you will want to make sure you dilute it when using topically. It’s cleansing and purifying and when taken internally both supports a healthy immune system, digestion, and respiratory function. It offers many powerful antioxidants when ingested.

How I use it:
Luckily oregano has so many benefits when taken internally because it’s really fun and easy to cook with! I like to add a drop (literally one drop) to my pasta sauce or any  Italian casserole.

Peppermint:

Ingesting peppermint promotes healthy respiratory function and clear breathing, aaahhhhhh! When taken internally, peppermint healthy digestion and it’s minty scent is an invigorating pick me up.

How I use it:
Peppermint is the very first oil I was introduced to and it got me hooked! I love to simply diffuse it for a wake-me-up booster, but mixing it with coconut oil in a rollerball and applying the nape of my neck and chest before a workout gives me a mental boost, keeps my cooler, and helps me breathe deeper.

dōTERRA Breathe – Respiratory Blend:

Combining oils including Laurel Leaf, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Lemon, Cardamom, Ravintsara, and Ravensara, this blend helps you maintain easy breathing and a feeling of clear airways. Applying topically or diffusing helps you get a restful sleep while reducing the effects of seasonal threats.

How I use it:
I like to diffuse Breathe along with lavender when I’m feeling the slightest bit congested, or applying with a little coconut oil directly over my chest at night or throughout the day.

DigestZen – Digestive Blend:

This unique blend was created to help support healthy digestion and soothe the occasional upset stomach. When taken orally it helps reduce bloating and gas thanks to oils including Anise Seed, Peppermint Plant, Ginger Rhizome/Root, Caraway Seed, Coriander Seed,  Tarragon Plant, and Fennel Seed.

How I use it:
Luckily I don’t feel I need to regularly use DigestZen, but I have it on hand just in case and it’s a great one to travel with. To ease tummy discomfort I rub a little on my stomach or if it’s really upset I’ll add a drop to my water.

dōTERRA OnGuard – Protective Blend:

OnGuard is so popular and useful there is a whole line of soaps, soft gels, hand sprays, and more! Created to provide a natural and effective way to boost your immunity, this blend includes the oils Wild Orange Peel, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Leaf, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Leaf, and Rosemary Leaf/Flower. This powerhouse blend supports your body’s natural antioxidant defenses helping protect you against environmental threats while supporting a healthy circulation and respiratory function.

How I use it:
I use OnGuard nearly every day since it’s in my counter top cleaner to help disinfect surfaces in a natural way. At the very first sign of anyone around me – husband, clients, friends, etc. – coming down with a cold, I diffuse it and put it in a capsule to to take internally.

Deep Blue – Soothing Blend

There are times when everyone will need Deep Blue, but athlete’s listen up! This mix of Wintergreen, Camphor, Peppermint, Ylang Ylang, Helichrysum, Blue Tansy, Blue Chamomile, and Osmanthus, provides relief to sore muscles and has a cooling effect, much like Icy Hot but without all the synthetic ingredients! It’s great to use along with coconut oil for a relaxing massage or to apply to aching hands and wrists after a long work day at the computer.

How I use it:
When I’m lucky enough to receive a foot massage you can bet Deep Blue is in the mix, but I honestly use the Deep Blue lotion most often. I use it on my low back and hamstrings after a tough workout or long day on my feet.

This kit is all I used for a while until I got in a regular habit of using my oils, and then the real fun began as I ventured out of the kit and started building my collection!

If you are at all interested in getting dōTERRA essential oils into your home, now is the time! Seriously, the November promotion is a full 20% off the following enrollment kits:

  • Emotional Aromatherapy Diffused
  • Cleanse and Restore
  • Home Essentials
  • Natural Solutions
  • Every Oil Kit
  • Diamond Kit

All the oils in this post are in the Home Essentials Kit along with a Petal Diffuser (I have two in my home!) and if you sign up by November 30th you’ll get $55 off the regular price

Head to my dōTERRA page here to order yourself, or email me at samantha@simplywellcoaching.com to take advantage of the November promotion and start living healthier naturally today!

Ditch the Diet Mentality

It’s true that what you eat has a greater effect on weight loss than exercise, however the antiquated notion of “dieting” is terrible for long term weight loss.

Today I want to look at why traditional dieting does not work, and how you can change your mentality to make healthier eating part of your life so you can keep extra weight off for good!

(I do want to clarify in this post I’m using the term “diet” to represent a structured plan people follow to change their weight/body, as opposed to “diet” meaning what one eats.)

Why Diet’s Don’t Work

Viewed as Temporary

There is a collective understanding that we go “on” a diet, which means at some point we’ll go “off” the diet. Whether you are On or Off for long stints, or a day to day decision, when you follow a diet plan it’s from a temporary position.

This is where people get trapped. Diets do work…initially. This is mainly because you’re cutting out food groups (the last point we’ll cover in this section), and at the beginning you have a ton of willpower to stick with this new plan. Even if you stick to your 21-Day Detox, 30-Day Clean Eating Challenge, 90-Day Lean Meal Plan, etc. once you’re back to your own devices for food choices, the unhealthy habits and weight come right back.

This starts a vicious cycle of feeling the only way to lose weight is to go on a diet because when you aren’t on a diet, you gain weight.

Overly Restrictive

Most diet plans out there are highly regimented. You’ll stick to XX amount of calories, count macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins), and/or cut out specific foods or food groups.

Going out becomes a challenge and the time it takes to plan and prepare your meals can feel like a second job. Plus, your social life will likely take a hit. You may enjoy cooking, but with a ton of rules it can take the joy out of preparing a meal. The feeling of restriction is an unhealthy mindset and leads you to counting down the days until you’re done with your diet.

The time commitment and inability to stray from your routine are rarely sustainable. When you’re inevitably forced to go off plan – you couldn’t get to the grocery to stock up for tomorrow’s meals, your boss takes you out for an important one-on-one lunch, your kid is sick and you simply cannot make dinner, etc. – instead of seeing it as a one time adjustment, you throw in the towel feeling you’ve ruined it.

Become Food Obsessed 

You may have started a diet so you “don’t have to think about what you eat”, but what inevitably ends of happening is that food is all you’re thinking about! When you go on a diet you’re not eating intuitively. You’re eating according to a plan that is likely not specifically tailored for you which means you’re putting a lot of thought into what you “can” eat and when you’re supposed to eat it.

When dieting you become intensely aware of all the food you cannot have Click To Tweet

When dieting you become intensely aware of all the food you cannot have, and if you cave and “cheat”, feel guilty and shameful over something that a week ago wasn’t a big deal.

Often Unhealthy

As mentioned earlier, diets often cut out entire food groups, and can be highly restrictive calorie wise. Those who choose to go vegetarian in a mindful non-diet mentality way, are conscious of getting what their bodies need after cutting out meat. They boost their protein and iron consumption through things like legumes and grains such as quinoa, for example.

When you cut out entire food groups, you still need to fuel your body nutritiously, and often people don’t have the information they need on how to maintain balanced nutrition when they go on an elimination style diet.

As for calories, yes you need to burn more than you consume to see weight loss, but it’s imperative to get enough to fuel your activity level. With a calorie restrictive diet you run the risk of muscle loss and undue stress on your body. This in turn effects your digestive system which can negatively respond to stress by sending blood to higher priority organs and systems like your heart and brain, and away from the digestive process.

Ditching the Diet Mentality

Stop Morally Judging Food

How many times have you said or heard, “I was bad, I ate pizza last night”, or “I’ll have the salad, I’m being good today”? Food is food. It is not good or bad and does not make you good or bad for eating it. Yes, there are foods that have more nutritional value than others, but that doesn’t make them or you a better person for eating them.

Food is food. It's not good or bad and does not make you good or bad for eating it. Click To Tweet

When you assign moral judgement to your food choices, you tie your worth to what you eat. Of course you feel bad for giving into a cupcake when you’ve demonized it!

It’s hard to stop since it’s become very engrained in our society, but you can start by paying attention to how you talk about your food choices. Next, practice seeing food as it is; food. Whether you decide to eat the bacon burger or grilled chicken salad, you are morally the same person.

Think Long Term

When I work with my clients on making healthier nutrition goals, I always ask how easy or difficult the goals we set felt. Whatever dietary changes you make, ask yourself if you will be eating this way a year from now. If that seems like no big deal, awesome! However, if your instinct is, “Omigod, I hope I can make it 30 days!”, this is not a sustainable change for you.

It’s much more beneficial for you to – for example – cut your added sugar intake by 50% for the rest of your life, than to cut it out completely for 30 days and go right back where you were.

To achieve sustainable weight loss, the changes you make in your eating habits need to be ones you can do regularly for life. This is not to say you can’t stray from your healthy habits. Quite the opposite. The changes you make should be ones you can easily come back to when life gets in the way – overseas travel, big life transition, illness, etc.

If the changes you’re attempting to make feel overwhelming or stressful, take that as a big red flag and scale back. Eat fast food 4 times a week and want to give it up cold turkey? Try cutting down to once a week and see how that feels first.

Drastic dietary changes rarely last long, and the weight loss that comes with them are short lived. Start small and see what feels approachable right now and build from there.

Pay Attention to Internal Cues

Our bodies are constantly giving us feedback. Upset tummy after eating dairy, heartburn after eating too much spicy food, exhaustion when you have too little protein, are all signals we can use. When we diet and try to control too tightly what and when we eat, we ignore all of these signals.

It can be tough to relearn, but think of how a child eats or how you ate as a kid. Did you pause to add up calories to determine how much dinner you should eat? Did you keep eating when the food no longer tasted amazing? Did you review the food choices of the past 24 hours to decide if you earned dessert?

Keeping a food journal for just a few days can help you recognize patterns and noting how you feel along with it will give you a better picture of how your food choices align with your mood and energy.

Check out this post on hunger cues and start checking in with yourself throughout the day to become more in touch with your personal caloric needs, without counting calories.

Make one healthy choice. Then Make another.

Cutting out cigarettes or alcohol or gambling isn’t easy by any means, but it’s something you are aiming to cut out, to avoid and abstain. With food, you have to make a choice multiple times each day, you can’t just avoid it. It’s crucial to feel comfortable around food to maintain a healthy weight range.

t's crucial to feel comfortable around food to maintain a healthy weight range. Click To Tweet

Going from diet plan to diet plan will not give you long term success, and can be harmful for you both physically and emotionally. Take one of these diet ditching mentality tactics to focus on this week and see how it changes how you feel about your food. Remember, you’ll be eating the rest of your life, so finding a way that makes you happy while keeping you in a healthy range is the best thing you can do for yourself.

For more accountability and a guiding hand in making small changes, check out my 4-Week Kickstarter Health Coaching Program! Together we will look at your habits and work as a team to implement small changes that lead to lasting results, whatever your goals are. Shoot me an email and let’s talk! Samantha@simplywellcoaching.com

5 Essential Oils for Metabolism and Weight Management

There’s certainly no shortage of weight loss and metabolism boosting products out there, but the vast majority aren’t close to healthy not to mention natural.

Luckily, essential oils has your back. In this post I’m going to cover 5 essential oils that naturally help boost your metabolism and curb cravings, making it easier to eat healthier and set your system up for success!

Grapefruit 

This popular citrus oil’s primary benefits is supporting a healthy metabolism and uplifting your mood, a win-win! It has a bright invigorating scent that is wonderful to diffuse especially when making healthy changes in your diet to help keep you motivated and positive.

Adding a drop to your water is a great way to lightly suppress your appetite, increase metabolism, and actually help activate enzymes that break down brown body fat!

You can use grapefruit oil topically to help with the appearance of cellulite, just take caution and avoid direct sunlight to the area of application for 12 hours (it will burn!).

Lemon

The top-selling essential oil has been a favorite since the beginning. It’s a powerful cleanser and mood booster, but I’m mentioning it in this post for it’s detoxification properties which help aid in digestion.

Like grapefruit, adding a drop of lemon to your water (actually pairs well with grapefruit for a more refreshing taste!) helps with heartburn and reflux while detoxifying your body naturally and helping cleanse the lymphatic system. You can even apply to the ears and ankles to cleanse and balance pH.

Peppermint

This powerfully refreshing oil is great for upset tummies as it promotes digestive health when used internally. It’s a wonderful oil to boost alertness and concentration which is perfect for trying to stick to healthy eating and fitness habits.

It can help reduce cravings so inhaling or applying a drop under your nose between meals is a good way to reap these beneficial properties. Taking it internally (with water or in a veggie pill capsule) or diluting and rubbing over your abdomen will help with digestive discomfort as well.

Ginger

Ginger is widely known for it’s ability to ease nausea and morning sickness, but it also helps with heartburn, reflux, colic, and constipation. An all around digestive hero! Take internally in a capsule to help fight heartburn and reflux and diffuse or apply topically on wrists to help ease nausea.

It increases heat production, helping boost metabolism and also reduces sugar cravings. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps fight disease causing inflammation in the intestines meaning you will more readily absorb vitamins and minerals.

Cinnamon Bark

It’s great that cinnamon is an easy oil to cook with (hello pumpkin cookies!) because it’s another oil that supports a healthy metabolism so eat up! You can put a drop in your hot tea to naturally flavor your drink while reaping the health benefits like increasing blood flow to the limbs to help with heart issues and cholesterol.

But that’s not all. Cinnamon oil has been proven to help regulate blood sugar, helping reduce cravings, which is great for everyone but especially those with diabetes.

All of these oils are great to cook with or add to beverages so making them a part of your daily routine couldn’t be easier!

For more information on essential oils – from how to use them to how to get them in your home – check out my Essential Oils page here!

The Equipment I Own to Get Fit at Home

I currently fantasize about two dream home components; more storage space, and a dedicated room for a home gym. I literally dream about finding extra rooms in my apartment that I didn’t know existed…

I live in a single level 3rd floor walkup in Chicago with an open concept kitchen and “second bedroom” that when the pullout couch is pulled out, you can’t walk around it. Needless to say, we don’t have a lot of extra space.

But that hasn’t stopped me from getting a gym worthy workout at home. With a few key pieces I am able to get the workout I want without cluttering my small space.

With a few key pieces I am able to get the workout I want without cluttering my small space. Click To Tweet

Here are the products I couldn’t live without (click photos for links)!

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells

 

I asked for these for Christmas the year I lived with my parents between college and moving to Chicago and Santa delivered! After a decade of consistent use they’ve never given me problems and take up about 2 square feet of space (which I put under a side table).

What I love most is that they have the in between weight options up through 25 pounds meaning when 10 pounds is too easy but 15 is too hard, you can select 12.5 pounds and work your way up slowly.

The other aspect aside from the small amount of space they take up, is that they are insanely easy to switch weight selections. I often do timed circuits where my interval timer gives me 15 seconds of rest between exercises and I have no problem switching weight selections with time to spare.

TRX Pro

There is variety now in the body suspension training world, but TRX was the breakout star and I hopped on board as a new personal trainer. I got the TRX Pro which comes with an extension you can take outdoors to anchor it to a tree or fence, but the home version will get you where you need to go.

This suspension trainer hooks into your door frame (with the door closed and omg lock it or at least tell anyone else who is home not to open the door! It comes with a tag saying workout in progress because you can never be too careful.)

I love the variety of exercises you can do on the TRX, you can totally get a full body workout in just using this one piece and you’ll adjust the resistance by your standing position.

It comes in a small mesh bag making it easy to stow or travel with.

Exercise Mat

There are a ton of mats to choose from and some people just use their yoga mat if they have that, however I wanted more cushion for my strength training mat and didn’t need it to be as “sticky” as my yoga mat. Plus, I sweat more during strength training than yoga and didn’t want to clean my yoga mat more often than necessary.

This Valeo mat is the mat I have and have been happy with for over 5 years.

Resistance Bands

For space and cost and versatility, these resistance bands win all three. If you only buy one of these items, start here. I always recommend them to clients, mainly because they are pretty cheap and you can travel with them. They weigh nothing and take up such a tiny amount of space in your suitcase or backpack. You can take them to a nearby park or on a work trip ensuring you don’t miss a strength training session just because you aren’t home and don’t have a gym.

Much like the TRX, you adjust the resistance with your grip positioning (although they come in different resistance strengths depending on how thick the band is).

Yoga Mat

Man, you can spend a TON on a yoga mat! I admit, when I first started practicing enough to warrant my purchase of a mat, I got an $8 one at Target and it worked…for a while. After a few months I noticed small specks of pink on my clothes or skin after a session and realized the mat was coming apart and sticking to me.

I didn’t want to splurge on my next mat, but wanted one a little thicker and a little stickier. I found this one for $30 and it’s going strong years later.

Yoga Blocks

Full disclosure my friend gave me an extra block of hers but I love it and a set of blocks is completely worth buying. They don’t take up much space, I have a large basket that houses all of these items sans weights, and they really are necessary if you practice at home at least once a week.

That’s all, folks! If I had space like a small room or basement, I’d love to add a treadmill to get walks in when it’s frigid, and possibly a stability ball but these things take up a lot of space and the former is an investment. You don’t need all of these things at once, so start with what you feel you’ll use the most and build from there.

 

Crunch-Free Core Circuit

Crunches are boring and actually not that effective for a strong core. They’re tough on the spine and only work one aspect of your complex core muscular system. Try these crunch-free exercises for a better core workout while not getting bored!

Want more cardio workouts that take less than 30 minutes? Check out my Strongher in :30 e-book and get fit at home!

Essential Oils and Yoga

I hadn’t been practicing yoga long when during Savassanah the instructor came by and spritzed a few pumps of lavender throughout the room. It. Was. Heavenly.

Essential oils and yoga pair beautifully together, taking you practice to a deeper level. You can enhance your experience by using specific oils or blends to promote feelings like calm, grounded, completeness, openness, and courage to name a few.

With this idea in mind, doTERRA just released a Yoga collection of 3 new blends; Anchor, Align, and Arise. These blends are geared specifically to enhance your yoga practice, although we all know they will enhance your life right along with it!

Anchor – Steadying Blend:

This blend “brings a firm trust in yourself so you can approach your practice and life with calming strength. Incorporating Lavender, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Black Pepper, and Patchouli in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil, this blend supports your connection to yourself and your innate wisdom.”

Poses to try with Anchor:
Seated meditation, seated twist, and Buh Mudra (placing one had on the heart, the other on the earth)

Align – Centering Blend:

 Align “features Bergamot, Coriander, Marjoram, Peppermint, Jasmine, and Rose essential oils in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil. This centering blend helps you to trust in yourself and stay open to all possibilities.”

Poses to try with Align:
Warrior II, triangle, and gate pose

Arise – Enlightening Blend:

This enlightening blend “supports your stability as well as your freedom. Bringing together Grapefruit, Lemon, Osmanthus, Melissa, and Siberian Fir in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil, doTERRA Arise inspires moments of reaching for your highest potential.”

Poses to try with Arise:
Standing with arms stretched high, standing side stretch, and half moon.

Ways to use:

  • If you practice at home, place your diffuser nearby with a couple of drops of the blend that aligns best with the type of practice you’re doing.
  • Drop from the bottle or dilute in water in a small spritzer and spray a pump or two on your mat or props like a bolster or blanket.
  • Apply a drop to the nape of your neck, above your heart, wrists, or bottoms of your feet.

To learn more about dōTERRA’s Yoga Blends, click here!

For more information on essential oils – from how to use them to how to get them in your home – check out my Essential Oils page here!

Perspectives While Away From Home

I had a loose idea of how the past 10 days would be like before I left Chicago for Georgia to visit my cousin and help with her 2 month old twins. I figured I’d have time to write my posts, we could take them to the park for walks and I’d probably do some yoga during naps.

I wasn’t planning to keep the workout and work schedule I maintain while at home, but also wasn’t planning to go radio silent in my business.

Today’s post isn’t like my usual posts. I had some topic idea’s written out, but writing a post was on my schedule last Thursday and I simply didn’t feel inspired. I – at best – have hit half of my step goal each day. I’ve done a quick yoga session once and zero strength training. All of this honestly made me a little anxious, like I was letting things slide. At first.

These things combined make me feel a little out of synch. But, the surprising thing I’m realizing is that I don’t feel like I’ve abandoned my habits. I don’t feel I just gave up. I actually feel OK. Why?

Because, I’m still doing what’s important to me. It just looks different right now.

I’ve abandoned the all-or-nothing mindset. I’m not getting my usual activity in, but I’m not sitting on the couch feeling lazy. I’m helping with feedings, changes, naps, and cooking.

I’m not going to networking meetings, but I’m reaching out to contacts I have working with to move current projects along. I’m not posting as much as I normally do, but I am staying consistent with daily interactions on social.

Instead of focusing on what I’m not doing, I immediately started thinking of what I am doing with my time.

I’m spending wonderful quality time with my cousin and aunt I don’t see all the time. My mom and grandma are here, too and getting to relax with them has been rejuvenating, just in a different way than my normal yoga class. We’ve ordered out two times in the past 10 days and cooked and eaten together the rest. It’s wonderful!

The second day here I was worried I wasn’t doing enough. Movement, work in my business, self care, etc. Then, I thought back to how busy and non-stop the days before I left town were. I was running from meeting to event to client and looked forward to the days I would soon spend with my family. And here I was, with my family and an infant in my arms thinking of how I should be doing more.

My mindset immediately shifted. I felt it. This wasn’t a new way of living that I needed to remedy. This was a special time I had planned for and looked forward to. I let all “should’s” leave my monkey brain and decided to enjoy each day as it unfolded.

My mindset shifted. This wasn't a new way of living that I needed to remedy. Click To Tweet

There’s a difference between abandoning what you value, ignoring all responsibility, treating anytime away from home like a free-for-all vacation, and putting your daily check lists on hold to indulge in a needed getaway.

It’s OK to put things on pause when you need to. You aren’t failing or letting your priorities go. I’m learning that taking a small break from my to-do list doesn’t mean I don’t care anymore, it simply means something else is more important in this moment and I will get back as soon as I’m ready.

This post isn’t as structured as I normally like to write. But I wanted to share my thoughts because the way they surprised me is an important lesson to myself, and hopefully resonates with you, if not now, sometime soon.

Essential Oils for Healthy Hair

The hair product aisle can be overwhelming with the amount of marketing that’s displayed on the plethora of bottles, tubes, jars, and, sprays. We seem to want so much from our hair products, from shiner to thicker, we’re on the look out for how to improve our locks.

But, it can get pricey! Plus, do you really know what’s in the products (i.e. chemicals) you’re rubbing into your scalp?

There are many essential oils that are excellent for improving and maintaining healthy hair, and – bonus! – they’re natural and cheaper when solutions when you can make your own. Here are 6 essential oils you’ll want on hand, and in your hair!

Cedarwood

Cedarwood has a woodsy scent – different from the others on this list – and is often used to treat dandruff. Aside from it’s clarifying properties like reducing skin irritation, this oil helps balance the secretion of the sebaceous glands making it applicable for both dry and oily scalps.

Cedarwood has been used to treat thinning hair and in one study was shown to improve symptoms of alopecia by stimulating hair follicles and boosting circulation to the scalp.

Use it at home:
Mix with carrier oil and apply directly to scalp to reduce dandruff or oily hair.

Chamomile 

Chamomile’s sweet and fruity scent smells wonderful and the anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, and anti-itching qualities can work wonders on dry, dandruffy scalps. It also conditions the hair to protect it from environmental pollutants making for a shiner and softer texture. If you use chamomile as a conditioning rinse, it can also lighten your hair naturally!

Use it at home:
Add a few drops to 1-2 tablespoons of coconut or jojoba oil and rub into scalp to give your hair a protective coating. This does not have to be rinsed out and will leave your hair smelling fresh!

Clary Sage

Clary sage’s woody yet herbaceous scent is likely best known for it’s ability to help balance hormones and encourage restful sleep. However, it’s also a useful oil to promote healthy hair and scalp. Especially great for combating dry scalp and hair as it helps regulate oil production. It’s very nourishing and has moisturizing qualities making your hair glossy and soft.

Use it at home:
Boost hair growth by combining equal parts clary sage and jojoba or coconut oil and massage into the scalp. Wash out with your regular shampoo after 30 minutes.

Lavender

One of the most popular oils, one study has shown to increase the number of follicles which also grow deeper for a fuller head of hair. The calming effects of lavender help from a stress level to combat thinning hair, while also helping balance oil production on your scalp.

Use it at home:
For an at-home spa treatment, mix 2TB warmed olive or coconut oil with 10 drops lavender and massage into your scalp.Cover your head with a towel and leave in overnight, washing out in the morning.

Peppermint

Peppermint has cooling and stimulating properties that improves blood flow to the scalp and is rejuvenating for the hair follicles. peppermint has been shown to promote hair growth and thickness.

Use it at home:
Add 2-3 drops of peppermint to your shampoo for a rejuvenating wake me up!

Rosemary

Rosemary may be a great cooking oil, but it should also be part of your healthy hair arsenal. Rosemary works well for those with dandruff as it minimizes itchiness of the scalp, and helps prevent split ends. A property of rosemary is boosting cellular metabolism which promotes healing while stimulating hair growth.

Use it at home:
Try a hot oil treatment! Warm 3 Tbsp olive oil and add 10 drops of rosemary oil once it’s cooled down. Apply to your scalp and cover it with a towel dipped in hot water. Wash off with shampoo after 30 minutes. Do this once a week for a month to reduce greasiness, control dandruff, and promote thick hair growth.

 

What This Health Coach Eats in a Typical Day

A a health coach I wanted to share what I eat in my day-to-day life, to show one of the many ways a health conscious individual nourishes themselves. This is not meant to say, “you should be eating this, too!”, it’s more of a, “here are some healthy things you may not have thought of”, and to show that there’s room for your favorite indulgences in any well rounded diet.

I am a creature of habit and could eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch nearly everyday, but I like to add some variety, especially for dinner, and I figured I’d give you a few examples of my most used “recipes”.

Breakfast

I typically eat sometime between 8-9am depending on my morning. At least 4, probably 5 days a week, I start my morning with oatmeal. I make mine with quick oats – not instant oatmeal – but the 1-minute oats, although you can use regular or steel cut, they even have gluten free. Alternatively, and especially on weekends, I like to make a big yogurt parfait. It keeps me full as long as the oatmeal because of all the protein!

Oatmeal

1/2 C oats
1 C almond milk
1 heaping spoonful plain yogurt
Honey/Stevia/brown sugar to taste
Pinch of salt

Mix all together and microwave about 2 minutes (keep an eye on it for overflow!)

I rotate between these add ins:

Pumpkin Pie:
Heaping spoonful pumpkin pureé
Nutmeg, cinnamon, clove

Berries and Cream:
Frozen berries
Scoop vanilla protein powder

Peanut butter:
Scoop peanut butter
Cinnamon

Yogurt Parfait

1 C plain low-fat yogurt
Handful cut cherries or grapes
1/2 banana, sliced
1/2 C Great Grains cereal (I use the Raisins, Dates, and Pecans kind)
Drizzle of honey

Lunch 

If I’m eating lunch at home with access to a stove, I’m making a fried egg sandwich. I’ve been doing this for years (and years, and years) and it’s good for a late breakfast, too. If I’m eating away from home I like either a PB & J with banana or a frozen Amy’s burrito if there is zero time to prep before. I eat between 12:30-1:30 pretty much everyday and the breakfast I have in the morning lasts me until then.

Fried Egg Sammie

Whole grain English muffin
1 Egg
1 Slice white cheddar cheese
Spinach
Cherry tomato sliced
Hummus and grainy mustard

Pan fry the egg. Lay spinach on cut English muffin, place egg on top, then tomato, then cheese. Put in toaster oven until cheese starts to brown. Spread hummus and mustard on English muffin top and make a sandwich.

I like to pair this with an apple, small yogurt parfait, or baby carrots.

Snack

Snack time is my favorite time! If I’m eating lunch around 1pm, I’m usually in need of something around 4-5pm since we typically eat dinner around 7:30. I feel like I go in phases for afternoon snacks, although if I’m away from home I grab a bar and a string cheese. Lately at home it’s been pretzel and cheese roll ups. I make a few of these depending on how hungry I am.

Pretzel Cheese Roll Up

Pretzel rods
Provolone
Spinach
Hummus

I break the pretzel into 2 smaller pieces and tear the provolone slice in half. Place a little spinach on the cheese and pretzel on top of that. Roll the cheese around the pretzel and dip in hummus. The mix of crunchy and salt with the protein and calcium of the cheese is satisfying texture-wise and has staying power. The spinach gives you a ton of vitamin A and K, plus manganese and folate.

Dinner

Dinner is the most varied of the week by far. Although I like to make things like casseroles or use my slow cooker to have leftovers, I vary what we eat for dinner as much as I’m able. I use sweet potatoes a lot, and end up having a vegetarian dinner at least 2 nights a week.

I’d say we have some version of a lasagna, chicken casserole, burgers, or breakfast-for-dinner the majority of nights. My main goal is to get a variety of veggies along with lean meat (if we’re having meat that night), and whole grains. I add protein like beans or cheese in wherever I can, especially if we aren’t having meat. Here are my favorite and most used recipes.

Super Easy Skinny Veggie Crock Pot Lasagna
Pinchofyum.com

English Muffin Burger

1/2 lb 96% lean ground beef
1 egg
Spoonful part-skim ricotta
Handful oats
Seasoning – salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cumin
English muffins
Toppings – cheese, spinach, tomato, onion, avocado, ketchup, and/or mustard

Mix beef through seasonings until blended. Divide into 2 patties, cook in skillet over medium heat 8-10 minutes per side. If topping with cheese, place on burgers for final 1-2 minutes. Toast English muffins and assemble burgers.

Buffalo Chicken Casserole
Wickedspatula.com

Elvis Stuffed French Toast
Simplywellcoaching.com

Late Night Snack

I can’t stress enough how much I love a good snack. While my “late night” is usually around 9:30pm, it’s my nighttime snack that I look forward to and keeps me satisfied overnight and I’m not ravenous in the morning. Here are my current hits:

  • Oikos Triple Zero Greek Yogurt (caramel creme) with Great Grains
  • Natural PB with preserves on graham crackers
  • Gelato! There’s a great place a half mile away that we like to stock up from.
  • Halo Top or Enlightened ice cream if we don’t have gelato

That’s a wrap! I haven’t calorie counted in years, but this menu keeps me full, gets me through my workouts, and in my healthy weight range so I don’t question it. Above all, keep your focus on getting a variety of veggies, whole grains, and protein and you’ll be set. Don’t overthink it! Check in with your hunger cues to see if you need to adjust for more or less calories.

Dinner is the biggest question mark of the day, as it is for most people. If you could use some help getting a healthy dinner on the table and are intimidated by cooking or meal planning. Check out my Simply Healthy Weeknight Dinners plan! It contains a month of weeknight dinners, each containing only 5 ingredients. Click below for more info!


Celebrate Fall with Essential Oils

One of the things I love most about fall is the aroma that comes with it. You can smell it as soon as the leaves start changing and the temps cool off, even just a bit. The air is full of an earthy must from leaves and crisper breezes and – at least to me – it’s invigorating, refreshing, and exciting!

I find myself using my essential oils to accentuate the fall season with a ton of different diffuser blends. Here are my favorite essential oils that embody fall along with diffuser blend ideas to get your home smelling like the season!

Bergamot

Although bergamot is a citrus fruit, it has a spicy note that makes it blend well for fall.

Top properties include:
Neurotonic
Anti-inflammatory
Antidepressant
Antibacterial
Antifungal
Digestive

Cardamom

A relative to ginger, cardamom has a spicy and warm smell but also packs a little fruity aroma to make it a little sweeter.

Top properties include:
Digestive
Antispasmodic
Anti-inflammatory
Decongestant
Expectorant

Cedarwood

Herbaceous and fresh, cedarwood is a rich outdoorsy scent.

Top properties include:
Anti-imflammatory
Diuretic
Astringent
Antiseptic
Sedative

Cinnamon

Common in baking, cinnamon has a spicy, sweet, and warm aroma that is a key to any pumpkin spice concoction.

Top properties include:
Antispetic
Antimicrobial
Antioxidant
Antifungal
Antiviral
Aphrodisiac

Clove

Very close to cinnamon, clove is essential for pumpkin pie spice and packs a little more punch with a more woody almost leathery scent than cinnamon.

Top properties include:
Antioxidant
Antiviral
Antibacterial
Antifungal
Expectorant
Anti-parasitic
Regenerative

Douglas Fir

Douglas fir is obviously woodsy, but it also has a clean and airy scent to it.

Top properties include:
Antioxidant
Analgesic (painkiller)
Antimicrobial
Antiseptic
Astringent
Laxative
Sedative
Stimulant

Ginger

A staple for anyone prone to nausea, ginger awakens the senses with it’s hot and spicy aroma that is almost peppery.

Top properties include:
Anti-inflammatory
Antispasmodic
Digestive
Laxative
Analgesic
Stimulant
Decongestant
Neurotonic

Wild Orange

One of the more popular of the citrus oils, wild orange is fresh but sweet and pairs perfectly with the herbaceous and spicy scents of fall.

Top properties include:
Energizing
Sedative
Anti-carcinoma
Carminative (gas relief)
Antiseptic
Antidepressant
Immunostimulant

Get out your diffuser and try these blends before winter gets here!