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Buying and Using Essential Oils Safely (with pets) — March 26, 2018

Buying and Using Essential Oils Safely (with pets)

Every day more and more people are learning about the therapeutic properties and benefits of using essential oils and are quickly making them a part of their daily lives.  I am a huge advocate for them and enjoy using them for preventative care, in my beauty regimen and when making cleaning products!

I have been seeing some negative light shed on them lately, especially when talking about animals and I just wanted to put some information out there to ensure that if you are using essential oils, that you are being mindful and using them properly.

As with anything, moderation is key.  For the safety of any little ones, your furry friends and of course, yourself, you do not want to be running a diffuser all day.  These oils are extremely concentrated and you and your loved ones need a break to be able to get them out of your systems.  This is the biggest concern with animals and what affects them the most.

Understanding that we are all different, humans and animals alike and will respond to different oils just as we respond to different plants, medicines, foods, etc., is the first thing we want to make sure that we understand.  What works for one is not always going to work for or be good for another – not on a species basis but per individual.  Just because your friend’s dog reacts oddly to a certain oil doesn’t mean that yours will and vice versa.

When choosing what types of oils to use around your animal, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.  There is a lot of talk about  phenol oils (Wintergreen, Basil, Tea-Tree, Peppermint) and their toxicity to cats but to my knowledge there has only been one study and it was done in 1972 BUT it had nothing to do with essential oils and everything to do with benzyl alcohol being injected as a food preservative to meat.

If you have searched online in an attempt to find a “safe list” for your cat or dog, you’ll know that many of the lists out there contradict one another and trying to get through them can become mind numbing.  Slowly introduce different oils to your pet to see how they respond and moderate use.

There is such a thing called “Zoopharmacognosy”, founded by Caroline Ingraham which uses essential oils to let animals experience what they would if they were in their natural environment.  A piece from her website states,

“Applied Zoopharmacognosy (IAZ) enables self-medicative behavior in domesticated or captive animals by offering plant extracts that would contain the same, or similar constituents to those found in an animals natural environment.  The practice encourages and allows the animal to guide its own health, since unlike their wild counterparts, captive and domesticated animals rarely have the opportunity to forage on medical plants.”

This is our version of her method:

Choose an oil that you would like to test. Dilute with a carrier oil (coconut, jojoba, argan, avocado)  and wear it on your clothes or skin and see how your animal reacts.  Never hold an open, undiluted bottle out to your animal, they have an incredible sense of smell and dogs especially can smell the scent even through a closed bottle.  Once it seems they are fine with it, feel free to use it in your diffuser.  Make sure they have a zone with fresh air that they are easily able to get to and never trap them in a room with a diffuser for any amount of time.

Understanding how to purchase and choose the right brand of essential oils will make a huge difference in your experience as well.  The best providers are either aromatherapists themselves or supply to many aromatherapists.  They should willingly provide the botanical name, country of origin and extraction method.

Pay attention to the pricing of the oils that a given brand provides.  Sandalwood and Lemon should not be the same price.  Not all oils are equal and the price should reflect that.

Understand the marketing terms.  This is a big deal.  There is currently no government grading system for essential oils.  Everyone is selling “Therapeutic, Grade-A, Pure ” oil. These words have no power behind them so don’t get impressed with all of the “safe” sounding words.  They are a marketing ploy.

Do-terra has created their own internal grading system and commercial trademark, “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” but it means nothing besides it is “certified” by their own standards.  It turns out you can put a sticker on something and make it “special” and people will believe you!

There are tests and reports that you can obtain, some companies provide them freely to the public and others you may need to contact to get the information but they should have no issue providing it to you.  A GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry) is used to analyze and identify a specific substance in a sample.

The Essential Oil Analysis Foundation has a website that can be found here where you can find test reports for different companies as well as sign up for updates on new reports.  Essential Oil Consumer Reports is a Facebook Group that you can join.  It is a good place to gather non-biased information from tried and true consumers as well as ask questions and take part in discussions.

The majority of oils you buy will be 4OZ and in an amber colored bottle.  At times, the larger amounts will come in clear or plastic bottles, if this is the case try to find out beforehand when it is placed into the clear glass or plastic.  You want to make sure that they are putting it in right before being shipped and not any sooner. Once you receive the bottle, immediately transfer them to dark colored bottles.

Also, do not leave in the rubber bulbs, take them off and use a glass dropper.  The essential oils will eat away the rubber and taint the integrity of the oil.  Aluminum bottles may also be used but they must be lined.  Orifice reducers are fine.

A 100% Pure Oil should be that you are buying the unadulterated oil with no fillers or additives.  Never buy anything labeled “fragrance oil” or “perfume oil”, sometimes also sold as an “Aromatherapy Oil”.  These are chemical products that likely have a few drops of the actual oil in them and none of the healing properties which are what makes essential oils so great!

What it comes down to is the distillation process and how well the oils are treated and stored up until the time of purchase.  Companies that work hard at creating the best oils take pride in their work and are going to be more than happy to tell you about their process and what sets them apart from the rest.  Give them a call and don’t be afraid to ask questions or request additional information.

Ask your veterinarian about using essential oils especially if your furry friend is 10 weeks or younger or has a pre-existing medical condition. If you own a bird, fish or other small animal be aware that even over time, these animals may have adverse reactions to oils.

 

 

 

 

 

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No More ‘Manic Mondays’ — March 4, 2018

No More ‘Manic Mondays’

For some reason we collectively dread Mondays – almost like an epidemic.  No one is excited when they come, while they’re here or to consider that there will be another sooner than we’d rather.  I’ve been trying to break the mold, personally, and look forward to and enjoy my Mondays and I’m going to share a few ways that I know have helped.

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Make your bed.

I know people who make their bed religiously and I know people who have the “Why make it?  I’m just going to sleep in it tonight,” mentality.  There’s nothing wrong with either. 

but…

Mondays have a tendency to be the worst day of the week for most of us.  It’s the day that we’re the latest, the least prepared, have extra work from last Friday because … Friday. 

If you get up and make your bed you get a feeling of accomplishment and it makes the next task easier to accomplish and hopefully spills into the rest of your day starting a spark of completed tasks. 

If nothing else and it ends up being a terrible Monday, at least at the end of the day, you can come home to a clean, freshly made bed, ready for tomorrow.

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Wake up early.

Ahhh, I know.  The last thing you want to do on a Monday but you will thank yourself.  Get up, make your bed, have coffee, get clean, wear a nice outfit.

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 Give yourself enough time to complete additional chores or just sit and take some morning moments to yourself.  Don’t have a rush out the door Monday!

Plan dinner!

If you have to prep or lay anything out Sunday evening, do it.  I like to make a crock pot meal on Mondays (or have something frozen ready to throw in).

Mondays are usually always busier than we anticipate.  We can have it for lunch or dinner the next night as well.  I will always lay meat out the night before, but any veggies I can cut up or sauces I can make are made Sunday night so that I can literally just dump it into the crock-pot in the morning.

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Eat breakfast AND lunch.

Even if you don’t normally, make it a plan to do both.  Your brain and body will perform better for you.  Smoothies are a wonderful and quick breakfast and Pinterest has a TON of recipes to try out!

  I keep boiled eggs in the fridge, always.  I also keep avocados, nuts and berries close by so even if I don’t sit down and eat a meal, I am snacking all day.

396fa037a2e9b63dc12ec0d5e58df4b8Be ready for ANYTHING.

Mondays are unexpected in themselves even though they show up every week.  They jolt us out of our beloved weekend shennanigans or peace and the things we feel like we SHOULD be doing.  Keep an open mind and don’t get sucked into the ‘Manic Monday’ mentality.  Create your day, your way.

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Clean it OUT: 10 Spaces to De-Clutter this Month — January 30, 2018

Clean it OUT: 10 Spaces to De-Clutter this Month

Now that you’ve had time to settle in to 2018, it’s time to de-clutter and this is the best time to do it!

Yes, you are going to have to get rid of things. I know, it’s hard BUT you can either make your family and home more functional or you can just continue re-organizing your junk. Your choice.

Here are ten spaces to start with. It might take a week or a month – Depending on how much you have, how much time and effort you’re willing to dedicate to this project and how easy it is for you to pull yourself away from this “stuff”.

Do NOT let your possessions, possess you. Do NOT fold to your own excuses as to why you have 200 wine bottles in the basement for “crafts” but haven’t even removed the labels. This is a FRESH start, so let’s get right to it!

1.) OLD MAGAZINES & CATALOGS If you’ve read them once, you’re probably not going to read them again. If you haven’t read them at all… Can I say it? STOP paying for them! That was easier than expected.

2.) FOOD This is a GREAT time to pull everything out of your refrigerator, freezer and cabinets, give them a nice deep clean and reorganize.

Most New Year’s Resolution lists consist of a diet change and if you’re someone who is making the switch and trying to eat cleaner than last year, you likely have a LOT of food that doesn’t adhere to your new plan.

DONATE! Do not throw food out that can be eaten, there are hungry people everywhere.

3.) THE MEDICINE CABINET The one in the bathroom, the one in the kitchen and of course, the one by your bed. Anything expired, throw it out. Anything that you’re constantly moving moving out of the way but never use, throw it out!

4.) RECIEPTS, BILLS & OLD DOCUMENTS You likely have or are getting ready to have all the reciepts that you need for tax season, anything else – unless you’re returning or exchanging an item – need to go.

5.) TOYS This is a big one. Who picks up all of these toys? You. How many toys does your child drag out of the toy box while looking for the few that they constantly play with? A bunch.

Christmas has come and gone and they are noticeably playing with some and not others, but you’re still picking up the same amount, or more.

Your time is valuable! Do yourself a favor and get a trash bag – you don’t have to trash them, give them away or sell them in bulk on Facebook.

With birthdays and Christmas, really young children tend to get toys, books, clothes, etc. that they aren’t quite ready for. You can put some of them up and reintroduce them at a later date. More space and less to pick up!

6.) JEWELRY Unless you’re crafty, you have ZERO use for broken jewelry and believe it or not, crafty people WILL buy it. Nothing excites me more than a gallon ziploc bag exploding with broken costume jewelry, I’m serious. Anything you don’t wear, sell it!

7.) BOOKS When I read a book, I take notes so that I can pass the book on to someone else but keep my favorite nuggets, excerpts and quotes of wisdom for reference.

To move forward we need new books – bigger and better books! Knowledge is a journey.

Donate, sell or leave them in random places for strangers to find.

8.) CLOTHES So hard, I know. To make it simple, use the two year rule. If you haven’t worn in the last two years, let it go.

If you’re having a REALLY hard time with this, turn all of your hangers around, wait a year and anything still facing backwards, you guessed it, bye-bye.

9.) OLD or UNUSED ELECTRONICS That drawer with broken chargers, tablets and phones? Time to go. Gazelle.com or Nextworth.com – ’nuff said.

10.) YOUR PURSE & YOUR CAR I saved the best for last because these are two things that, if you’re a woman, you use on a regular basis and when you’re constantly looking at a mess, you feel like a mess.

You might even want to start with these because they’re probably the easiest and once they are done, you get a great deal of confidence that will provide motivation for the others!

Treat yourself and get organized!