Encased in chemicals. Endocrine disrupting chemicals. That is your kids’ pajamas. And, if you are my age, my pajamas as a kid too.
I don’t often truly understand the Chemical Life we live. How those 80,000 approved chemicals truly affect my – our – day today.
This came to light, for me, the other day when a friend shared an already viral video on Facebook. A mom was actually just shopping in your typical all-in-one grocery store, and she pointed out all the “flame resistant” pajamas. I actually never really thought about it before, what made these PJs so flame resistant? Another friend of mine noted how grossed out she had always been by these, and now considering their origin, I absolutely concur.
Here’s the thing – house fires are scary, and kids on fire is a scary thing. So, from what I can piece together with about an hour or two of internet research is that some time, long, long ago, we decided those were too scary to leave to chance. So, we started adding chemicals to all sorts of things – pajamas, couches, and more. But, like so many things with chemicals, we trusted in the chemicals ability to keep us safe rather than check to see if it interfered with anything else. That coupled with narrow sited choices and some choices just by chance that then became the norm, we went with these chemicals to keep us safe. In some cases, just because California did.
It’s like the story of the pot roast. It’s part urban legend and part truth (for example, this actually happened with my mom). Daughter cuts off the end of the pot roast and mom looks on, “Honey, why are you doing that?” “Because you did,” responds diligent daughter. “Oh, honey, I did that so the roast would fit in the pan. Yours fits as is,” responds clarifying mother. Granted, chopping off the end of a roast is far less daunting than ruining your health through ill-effects of chemicals. However, the point remains. How often do we do things because that’s the way another generation did? Too often I would argue, and it is now getting in the way of our health.
Video mom comes up with a great simple solution – avoid pajamas and buy loungewear instead. And, one final to-do: always read your labels. We read them when we discuss essential oils, regular “medicine”, food, and don’t forget your clothes too.
A Flame Retardant That Came With Its Own Threat to Health: https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/04/us/a-flame-retardant-that-came-with-its-own-threat-to-health.html
Potential disruption of endocrine system: Flame retardants can mimic estrogens, 3-D images show: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130819102716.htm
Endocrine Disruption and Flame-Retardant Chemicals: PBDE-99 Effects on Rat Sexual Development: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1367877/
Are brominated flame retardants endocrine disruptors?: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12850103
How to find flame-resistant pajamas for kids, without toxic chemicals: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/how-to-find-flame-resistant-pajamas-for-kids-without-toxic-chemicals/2017/11/08/fe587216-c32d-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html?utm_term=.b7f27121afde
This is the “king of oils”. Sourced from Somalia and Oman, doTERRA actually created a cooperative with existing farmers of Frankincense. So, why do we even call it the “king of oils”? Because this complex oil can support the whole body in a variety of ways. Frankincense essential oil supports a healthy immune response, promotes overall skin health, and supports a healthy inflammatory response in skin cells.
Frankincense oil blends well with citrus oils like Lime, Lemon, and Wild Orange – among others. One of my favorite blends is for after school grounding and focus. I will take 1-2 drops vetiver and frankincense and add 4 drops of wild orange. The uplifting citrus pairs very well with the whole grounding of vetiver and frankincense. Often, study time is much calmer when this is diffusing!
Frankincense can be used for a variety of things. Here’s a short list:
Add to your DIY facial toner to support healthy, glowing skin
Apply after your morning shave to provide relief to razor bumps
Diffuse on your car ride into work for a calming, relaxing fragrance to set you in the mood for working
Use in your prayer or meditation, as it is the Oil of Truth, to help you get into alignment with your truth
Take daily under your tongue or in a veggie cap to support overall cellular function (pro tip, try it for a month and report back any findings)
Click the links below for more!
Below is a doTERRA video on the sourcing of Frankincense and why their Frankincense is so different.
You’ve probably seen a lot of “master classes” floating around. Famous people like Maclom Gladwell and Gordon Ramsey are sharing their craft. Experts in writing, cooking, or acting are sharing their knowledge widely.
I’ve been teaching “master classes” for a while, but they went by another name. So, we are calling them what they really are – a master class on essential oil use. I have been an expert in natural remedies for almost 20 years, with the last four focused really on using essential oils in our homes for our health and well-being.
So, each month, starting with June, the master classes will coordinate the theme with my newsletter. This month, we’ll talk about “summer play”.
What is included in this master class? We’ll go over at least 10 ways to support your summer with essential oils. The class will be 30 minutes. Plus, we’ll have 10 more minutes for questions. Know that space is limited. Each person who registers will receive the recording to listen to, as long as you need!
More than ten years ago I co-authored two green guides with a colleague. And, then she moved and I remained, and life kept coming. At that time, I had the itch to know more green stories.
I am resurrecting a ten-year-old idea: the green interview to ask, “How green are you?”
I am inviting you, to come talk to me about all the ways you are green in the world. Then, your story will be showcased on my blog in the fall.
I’ll take as many stories as I can get! And, for now, I’ll highlight the top eight. My goal is that this will be a repeating feature on my blog. Who knows? Maybe I’ll wrap it up into a new guide for a new age of going green.
In 2007, my step-sister, 3 months my junior, was killed in her home, after a concert, by her ex-boyfriend.
Cristi was a dynamic individual. She was charismatic, fun, buoyant. She was busy, with conflicting stressful roles, and turned to unhealthy habits to cope. (Miller Lite was her number one vice.) She was a special education teacher who touched the lives of many students. One student expressed her appreciation for Cristi because Cristi listened to her when this student was in crisis – wanting to die. And, this student wasn’t the only one.
Cristi listened compassionately to her students. And, though she had some really great friends, she didn’t have a network that fully supported her. In part, like so many of us, she didn’t know how to fully articulate what she needed. And, unfortunately, that, along with many unfortunate events, led to her early death.
I am hosting a listening campaign for many reasons. One of which is Cristi. As women, I believe we owe it to each other to come together as support and not judgment. We’ve judged and been judged – enough. Now is the time to come together and listen.
But how? How do we truly listen without judgement? We practice, that’s how.
So, I am offering to you the opportunity to be heard. Next, we will practice together. For now, though, just be heard. Be heard for all the Cristis of the world so that we can save lives instead of saying goodbye before it’s time.
I was talking to a friend recently, and she was helping me dig deeper into why going green is important to me. I found it was hard for me to describe, as it’s kind of like breathing. In my writing the other day, I was able to clarify for myself. Going green is like teaching our kids not to hit. We do this because we accept and agree that our kids hitting other kids is wrong. It hurts the other child, physically and emotionally, and that’s not right. Going green ensures we have a lifestyle that doesn’t hit each other. That’s the grossest way I can think to describe why this is important. So, going green is the safest, kindest way, we can ensure we don’t hurt each other and future generations.
What does this mean? We know that all sorts of chemicals in our daily use increase the risk of cancer. We know that our industry, our car driving, our polluting the air causes breathing difficulties. We know that industry and agriculture that runs off into our waters causes our drinking water to be contaminated to the point it is not healthy to drink, that is, we get sick. We know that contamination sometimes contains lead which stunts the growth and brain development of children. Sometimes that contamination contains chemicals that cause cancer or other illnesses.
We know that cancer is expensive to treat, sometimes fast progressing, a disease that cripples the people who have it and the families that support the people with it. We know that making people sick prevents them from living their best selves.
I believe that we are given certain things in our lives that help makes us stronger. I believe we all have lessons to learn. I also believe that once we learn those lessons, we have a responsibility to (attempt) to teach others (peers or future generations) our lessons so they can make new, different, and more interesting mistakes.
Causing cancer, or illness, in others is a mistake and we know how to solve it – at least part of it. When, as a society, we do things – use chemicals in our home that runoff in the water, make the air hard to breathe, deplete living things in the water, and ruin our soil – we are making a mistake. We are making a mistake that kills people and makes their lives hard to live. We are the child hitting the other child to the point the other child is in tears and can no longer have fun playing a game.
This game, this game is the game of life, and I believe we all deserve to be able to show up as our best selves with our best feet forward to play our best. When, as a society, we intentionally make choices that cripple other people’s choices, we are ruining their chances of playing the game. We are hitting those people, just as the child who hits another.
In 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote in the American Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Our social contract says it’s not okay to hit other people. Clearly, when you hit me, you are infringing upon my right to life and my right to the pursuit of happiness. To clarify that boundary, it has been said by many that, “Your rights end where my nose begins.” In 1882, John B. Finch orated on this matter when discussing prohibition, that is we have the right to eat and drink what we please until that drinking causes us to hit another.
There are so many things in our world that permeate our beings, things that go beneath the surface of our physical bodies, beyond a fist to the nose. As such, we need to expand our understanding of our social contract to include breathing clean air, drinking clean water, and growing clean food in the clean soil. While it is not another person directly hitting us, when these things enter our bodies – beyond our noses – they cause damage. For example, an industry making a thing and polluting our environment causes us to get sick, their right to commerce conflicts with my right to life. That can be reduced to barbarism. You do not have a right to step into my right to life.
That’s why I promote a green life – because it is our right to life, our right to our pursuit of happiness.
I’m a quiet gardener. That is, I have known basics since I was a child, I’ve studied gardening as an adult, and I’ve written about gardening. I’ve even practiced with my family. My practice isn’t incredibly consistent, despite my love of and fascination for gardening.
Regardless, I am also a researcher. I love learning new things, and I love sharing that knowledge. Recently, I did a class on essential oils and gardening, which means I have recently been in the thick of researching gardening and essential oils. And, I’m excited to share that information with you!
Two classes will be held this month – both on Friday, April 20th, the Friday before Earth Day. One will be held at 10am in my home in Portland. The other will be a webinar at 6pm. Times are in Pacific Standard.
Want to learn what I learned about gardening and essential oils? Join this class! Let’s continue learning about gardening, together.
Valentine’s Day is here and that probably means one of two things. Either you are excited for a fun romantic date out with your loved one or you’re preparing for Galentine’s. (My “Galentine’s” will be co-leading a book discussion on Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness.) Did you read my newsletter this month? Well, I talked a lot about self-care, so another thing you can do for Valentine’s is to simply love yourself. When I get home from the book discussion, after I put the kiddo in bed, after I get ready for tomorrow, I fully plan on turning on a favorite show and a favorite diffuser blend while I pamper myself. This is one of my favorite things to do. Here are more ways for you to explore “Pamper Days”:
Epsom Salt Bath: This will help detox and destress you from your everyday life plus it will help soothe your muscles. I gave my feet an Epsom salt bath last week after the kiddo’s birthday party.
Sugar Lip Scrub: Growing up, I had the most terrible chapped lips that were always peeling so this is something I like to do on a routine basis to help my lips stay smooth and soft.
Clay Facial Mask: This is made with Bentonite clay which has a ton of nourishing properties for your skin to get you back to glowing.
Strawberry-Lime Sugar Scrub: This is one that will make your skin as soft as a baby’s bottom. It also helps your skin feel bright and fresh.
Bergamot Foot Mask: Feet should not be out of mind just because they might be out of sight. Don’t forget to show them a little love too.
Let’s talk about research for a hot minute. It took me 12 years to get my bachelor’s degree. I ended my time, transferred to Portland State University, submerged in 400 level courses where we looked at primary sources for – well – everything. Something in my view changed, and I cared less about secondary sources, and now, whenever I read something, I’m scrounging for their primary sources where they formulated their opinions.
This thinking, now ingrained in my soul, was shaken to its core while helping my fifth grader with his homework the other week. He was working on a research project. (The fifth grade got a sink or swim project in research, you know, thrown in the deep end, then given a life raft.) We worked on this over a course of several weeks, doing research first, then weeks later putting it together in his presentation. My darling fifth grader, when I probed him for his sources, said, “I don’t know, I guess I just knew it. I don’t know how it got in my head.”
It’s moments like these that test my patience and help me grow as a person. I’m sure my deep sigh, intake of breath, is an alert that momma is not pleased. I tried so hard to say in the nicest way possible that he got the information from somewhere, though I am sure irritation and a little disgust eked through. He is surviving, and I think it’s okay to show our distasteful emotions so children know adults have them too. Showing these emotions also alerts both of us a boundary has been breached! After we worked through it, he remembered all the sources, and we were able to properly document his project.
That said, if you’re following me on Facebook, you may be wondering – where the heck is your sourcing Michelle? You say all these things, what did you just miraculously materialize the info? Short answer – no. Yet, I don’t make space to source my posts within the posts. So, I’m going to give you my annotated bibliography here.
The Sources I Use
I have curated this collection of sources for the last three to four years. Some of these are secondary, yet still useful. I am always on the hunt for primary sources to better describe how the chemistry works with our human bodies. Here is my list of current essential oil education research.
Emotions & Essential Oils: a Reference Guide for Emotional Healing, 6th Edition (Enlighten Healing, LLC, 2017)
Though I got into the oils because of how they can positively support my health, I turn to the emotional aspect even more. This concise book works through all the single oils and blends I use describing their emotional aspects with a short story, a summary of positive and negative effects, and handy tables and indexes to guide my research.
Essentials of the Earth, 7th Edition (EoEBooks, 2017)
This small, spiral bound book works like an encyclopedia of oils and issues. Everything is in alphabetical order, it’s concise, and gives a range of oils to use for any issue. This also has a corresponding app for your phone.
Fritz, Stephanie, Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth & Babies, 2nd Edition (Gently Born Productions, 2015)
In my oil community, this gem is the go-to resource for anything pregnancy related. Stephanie goes through the oils, how they can support all phases of pregnancy and postpartum. If you know someone expecting, definitely check out this book.
Gillerman, Hope, Essential Oils Every Day: Rituals and Remedies for Healing, Happiness, and Beauty (HarperCollins, 2016)
Essential Oils Every Day is new to me, acquired from my local bookstore (Powell’s). I am enjoying learning through this very different resource than I have previously acquired. She goes through different oils offering various blends and use ideas with some wisdom along the way on how to generally use essential oils.
Lawless, Julie, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy and Herbalism (Element Books, 1995)
I purchased this book at my local bookstore (Powell’s) while acquiring a few others. I chose to get this older version, Julia had a newer version, because I wanted to show that the way we talk about essential oils has a few decades of history under its belt. This book, this encyclopedia has beautiful drawings and images of the oils and their respective plants. She offers good summaries of a variety of oils and interesting ways to use them.
Mangandog, Desiree, LAc, MSTOM, I Am Fabulous: Blends for Emotional Well-Being (Bear Nature, LLC / DNA Essentials Inc., 2017)
Are you stuck? Feeling down? Hoping to get more magic in your life? Desiree, a student of Chinese medicine for over 13 years, has compiled this book of blends to address a myriad of emotions we experience daily. Check out her protocols and blends. For more information, see all her offerings at www.desireemangandog.com.
Modern Essentials: a Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 7th Edition (AromaTools, 2015)
This was my first essential oil book purchase. I was drawn to its amazing summary of oil history, how they are produced and tested, and its beautiful index of issues, wonderfully cross-referenced. In between, the publishers go through all the oils I use starting with singles and then blends. This is by far my favorite book as an all-in-one reference for the oils I use daily, some background on their chemical makeup, and some amazing insights on how the oils can support my physical and emotional health.
Schnaubelt, Kurt, PhD, The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils: The Science of Advanced Aromatherapy (Healing Arts Press, 2011)
This was my first purchase outside my oil community. This book does a great job of explaining why I’m okay with using oils internally, topically (and neat sometimes), and aromatically. Dr. Schnaubelt breaks up his book in sections where he discusses understanding the language of plants, exploring authentic essential oils, and healing with essential oils. The latter portion is great if you’re looking for general protocols and guidance.
The Essential Life: A Simple Guide to Living the Wellness Lifestyle, 2nd Edition (Total Wellness Publishing, 2015)
Total Wellness Publishing launched their first edition in 2014 or early 2015. I gave that copy away! This is an amazing compliment to the Modern Essentials book and offers more for those more motivated by beautiful pictures. This book breaks down oil use by body system and offers a lot of uses for around the house. It is an amazing resource and one of my go-tos as I conduct this “a year of oils” campaign.
Worwood, Valerie Ann, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition (New World Library, 2016)
I picked up this resource to engage more third-party ideas of how to use oils. I wanted another voice to explain different ways of diluting, different use, and get a sense of oils not in my collection. I have not been disappointed. Valerie does an incredible comprehensive job of detailing all the many ways we can use essential oils and offering many blends and protocols for anything you could think of.
Monday night initiated the 2018 Empowered Life series. This event, unlike the others, was a paid event. We were blessed to hear the insights and knowledge of Desiree Mangandog. This was the first time I saw her live, though I finally acquired her book during the 2017 Convention.
Desiree has quite the loving, inspired reputation among my essential oil community. She is known to assess the energy of a room, immediately. As such, I loved how she started this “Healers Workshop” with diving right into our auric field.
Desiree walked us through various ways to shore up our boundaries, in a healthful, managed way, while being open to creating our own loving tribe just for us. All the while sprinkling in her wisdom gleaned from years of study.
She walked us through managing our auric field to learning about the energy hooks we receive and leave on those we encounter. We did a beautiful exercise of removing those energy hooks, repairing the cracks, and reinforcing our boundaries. We left with a three-week protocol to establish our boundary so we can share our gifts and love with the world. I applied this blend of petitgrain and melaleuca multiple times Tuesday.
In teaching us how to clear things – she went through the thinking that we need to 1) clear out the bad, 2) be open to the good, and 3) harmonize. The last piece, she repeated, often, was essential to support good rhythmic flow.
Desiree walked us through how the ego affects us. I loved that we spent a little bit of time here discussing symptoms to look for when the ego is bruised, such as: worrying about our bodies, time, or what’s going on around us (environment). She encouraged us to be mission-centered, believing in and staying connected with the divine (infinite love, wisdom, gifts). Previously when she presented here, she stopped addressing source as God because she sensed the attendees weren’t open to it. Monday, she simply said, “I don’t work that way, and I don’t understand that thinking.” I was endeared how she called the elephant out with her beliefs and how they might conflict with those in the room.
We also spent time removing limitations, though she cautioned we may have a tough time on Tuesday. I did do this protocol during the event, so was sure to apply helichrysum multiple times to offset any challenges. While discussing limitations, she brought up a common oil use of wild orange. We oilers often cling to its emotional properties, the oil of abundance. She cautioned us though – if we are submerged in limitations when we use wild orange, we may be inviting an abundance of limitations. So, clear your limitations first, then use your wild orange for abundance.
So many blends, and so many protocols for getting in touch with the divine, clearing residual energies, listening to our hearts, and more. This workshop was well worth the $30 (ish) price tag. (The event time/location is usually free). We walked away with so much information. After I finish checking over this post, I’ll be making my own labels to get my stash of rollers ready for when I need them.