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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Heather's Story: Mesothelioma

Although National Women's Health Week was back in May, I'm sharing a story, in honor of it, from an incredible woman and mama who is shining light on a little-known disease.

"My name is Heather Von St. James and I’m reaching out to you today in hopes that you will help me with a cause that is very near and dear to my heart.

Eight years ago, I was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare and deadly cancer caused only by exposure to asbestos. I had just given birth to our daughter Lily, and was only given 15 months to live. After a life saving surgery that included the removal of my left lung, I’ve made it my life’s mission to spread awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos.

My father had worked in construction and would come home with dust all over him. As a child I would wear his work coat, unknowingly exposing myself to the asbestos he worked with daily. Mesothelioma was once considered a ‘man’s disease’, but women have swiftly become the new patient profile due to second-hand exposure.

In honor of National Women’s Health Week (May 11-17), I am reaching out to bloggers to ask for help in spreading the word about mesothelioma and it’s causes. During this week, individuals, families, and communities work to help women learn how to achieve longer, healthier, and safer lives! Although this week has passed, women’s health is an important issue and deserves to be shared.

The site I blog for, the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, has a great deal of information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure. It would mean the world to me if you could help me with my mission by spreading awareness on your blog to help educate and inform your readers about this preventable disease!

All my best,


You can read Heather's blogging here.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A New Natural Treatment for Asthma, COPD, Croup

There's a reason this post of mine about Silver Shield for croup is my blog's number one post of all time:

There's a lot of respiratory issues going on out there, increasingly so, and I'm a firm believer that all the chemicals in our world play a large part in this.

I wish I had the time for a super long post about greening your home, landscaping products, cleaning products, etc., but you can find tons of that information by googling it anyway.  I like to google "mom wellness blog XXXX" for whatever i'm searching for so that any one of the amazing holistic, wellness-minded blogs comes up in the search - Mommypotamus, Health Home & Happiness, Wellness Mama...there are so many out there.

Not too long ago I wrote a post about glutathione and its amazing effects on my dad, and talk about the foods and supplements that can be taken to assist our bodies in producing more glutathione.

In it I referenced The Healthy Home Economists's post:  Tylenol Just Once A Month Raises A Child's Asthma Risk 540%, and Dr. Hyman's post:  Glutathione, The Mother Of All Antioxidants.  I was fascinated to read Sarah's (The HHE) discussion of how Tylenol may reduce glutathione in the lungs and blood, therefore damaging the body.

Well, I've since happened upon information about nebulized glutathione, which combines my croup post and my glutathione post into one amazing discovery!   

You can read the incredible Dr. Whitaker's information on glutathione, in all its forms, here.  He offers it in various ways at his Wellness Institute in Orange County, CA, including intravenously and nebulized, and says that one would just need to get a prescription for glutathione, to be filled by a compounding pharmacy, and can then be used at home in your own nebulizer.  

I've since read many phenomenal stories of people and kids with asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis and other lung diseases who have gotten great results with nebulized glutathione.   

GlutaGenic.com has amazing information about glutathione and glutathione products:

As I always suggest, do some research of your own!  If you need a nebulizer, I'd search medical supply stores near you...that's where we got ours!

Have you heard of nebulizing glutathione before?  Do you know any lung-issue sufferers?

Love + light ~


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April Is A Bat-Shit Crazy Month - Are You Feeling It?

I was totally blindsided last week the day of the Blood Moon...I knew the full moon was coming up, but I hadn't kept track of what was happening when.  

So when I learned about the Blood Moon the very day of it, I was both relieved that there was this simple explanation for my toddler's recent night awakenings, and also astounded that I would start my menses on that very day, too.

A day or two after my menses, I wondered why I was still feeling so achy, exhausted and foggy.  I just felt out-of-it.  I had a pulling ache behind one knee, a dull headache, and began to worry myself about various health issues.

I GOOGLE'd Blood Moon and exhaustion and lo and behold, I was not alone!  

As the amazing internet always does, it connected me with others who are experiencing the same physical symptoms, helping me to not feel so strange and isolated.  April, with it's Cardinal Grand Cross, is an incredibly powerful and intense month of changes, and if you're at all sensitive like I am, you'll feel it in one way or another!

This site said something to the effect of if you're not feeling odd and out-of-it yet, you will be soon!

I've lately been wracked with almost daily bouts of gut-wrenching fear and anxiety surrounding the government, repression, big pharma and the like.  An overall sense of just how out of control this country has gotten, and a fear when I feel vulnerable and helpless.

I've been talking to my angels a lot...working on releasing fears and staying strong in my positive thoughts of what I DO want, not what I DON'T want.  

I actually feel quite honored to be a part of this massive movement of collective human consciousness towards enlightenment...towards healing humanity and our Mother Earth. 

 But holy crap, every once in awhile I do just wish I could go back to the days of complete ignorance...just for 5 minutes, maybe.

But there's work to be done here, and we are DOING it, fellow lightworkers!  I leave you with the lyrics of the song that has been on constant replay in my head for over a week now...it took me a few days to realize it's a direct message from up above - duh.  And oh, what a message it is...we are not alone, not even in our darkest moments.  

Love + light to you ~
We're your friends
We're your friends
We're your friends to the bitter end

When you're alone

Who comes around

To pluck you up
When you are down
And when you're outside, looking in
Who's there to open the door?
That's what friends are for!

Who's always eager to extend

A friendly claw?

That's what friends are for!

And when you're lost in dire need

Who's at your side at lightning speed?

We're friends of every creature
Comin' down the pike
In fact we never met an animal
We didn't like, didn't like

So you can see

We're friends in need

And friends in need
Are friends indeed
We'll keep you safe
In the jungle forevermore

(That's What Friends Are For - The Vulture Song - Jungle Book)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fire Wife Life ~ The Night I Prayed For Mercy

It was primal...both what I felt, and what I saw.

I can tell you what I saw, but I'm still not quite sure what I felt.

I was in an 85 degree stagnant trailer with 4 sweaty, sticky little ones, and it was rocking like there was some hanky panky going on...but of course there wasn't. It was the 60 mph winds outside that were driving the desert sand so hard into all the trucks and trailers that everyone was getting a new paint sand job.

We were in the desert for an off-roading weekend, in the midst of Southern California's "worst" storm of the winter, which I realize is nothing compared to what the rest of the country, and world, go through.  We're weather wimps...I know this.

But they were pretty insane, those winds.

When they first picked up the kids whooped and hollered in delight at their flying hair and clothes, at the socks and hats zooming by, at the granola bars and apple cores getting caked in sand. Then when it began to whip up into mouths and eyes and sting bare skin we scrambled to find goggles and long pants and shirts.

And then it just reached not-fun-anymore status.

So the women ushered kids and cousins into trailers, and little faces smooshed up against the windows to peer out at the men battening down the hatches. They hurriedly detached awnings and canopies, secured folding chairs and tools and quad whips...all the while ignoring the stinging sand pelting their bare arms and legs. After securing the basics, they then went as a group to each rig, lending a hand with the heavier tasks of raising dirt bikes off the ground or tethering down a tarp or offering up a word of advice.

I felt...feminine.  

Pre-kids, I would have been out there with the guys, helping out, pretending the winds didn't bother me until I was physically in pain.  But now here I was, forced to remain inside with my two and my two nephews, which I didn't mind at all.  But it amplified my maternal role, my femininity, in watching the offspring and depending fully upon the men for security.  

The men would sometimes stop to smoosh their own face up to the window, making silly monster faces at the ones on the other side of the glass.

 They flashed confident, comforting smiles, appearing oblivious that there was a small tornado swirling behind their backs.

After awhile the novelty of the show wore off, and the rocking of the trailer became normal, so movies were watched, snacks were eaten, and pictures were colored.  The menfolk had enough cold beer to ignore the storm and go on rides in the dunes and attempt to have conversations through the howling wind.  I enjoyed my own cold one and the rare treat of sitting down with a book while the kids jumped around.

The afternoon wore on into the evening, and the wind was not only showing NO signs of easing up, but it was getting much, much stronger.  I got a tad nervous each time the trailer lurched with a gust of wind, and wondered how much sleep we'd all get that night.

Burgers and s'mores were grilled indoors. Cabin fever became rampant, so bedtime came early.  But just as the kisses were hitting foreheads and flashlights turning off, the trailer creaked and crunched and lurched so greatly, and the massive gust of wind howled so loudly, that my heart pounded right out of my chest and I broke out in a cold sweat.

I quickly glanced around to see where I might throw the kids in case of tip-over, while talking feverishly in my head to my guardian angels and all higher beings who might assist in sparing these 16 souls all alone in the middle of a massive desert.  

I reflected on our drive in the day before...how thrilled we were to see we were THE ONLY camp in this hugely popular off-roading destination; a place that was usually filled with thousands of people on any given fall or winter weekend.  Slightly eery, but mostly awesome.

Until the windstorm.  

Then I understood, we were THE ONLY crazy ones who hadn't heeded the weather warnings.  This was the one storm of the year the weather reports were actually correct about...usually they were all talk.  I remembered the 'Southern California Tornado Watch' post I'd scrolled by on my Facebook feed...I'd deliberately ignored it.  Tornado?  Southern CA?  pffftttt.  My mom had been texting me about the hurricane of rain and wind hitting them back at home...at least there was no rain out here, just the wind.

It felt like we were on a boat.  My son and his cousin giggled nervously with eachother and asked my husband if the trailer might tip over.

I glanced up at my fireman in his bunk and saw that he had turned so his head was on the opposite end of his bed...this way he'd be standing on his feet if we tipped over, instead of landing on his head. He caught my eye (which must have been really wide), registered my expression (which definitely was scared-to-death), nodded, and climbed down to get dressed.

When we'd arrived at the camp the day before, we'd filled in the circle of rigs in the only available spot, which happened to put us broadside to this wind. Fireman could see on my face that this was not going to fly...we needed to re-position nose to the wind.

So, once again, little faces smooshed to the glass to watch Daddy begin the tedious task of picking up our camp and re-hitching the trailer and firing up the truck, all in the dark and the midst of a 10-foot visibility sandstorm. I wanted to go out and help my husband, but the kids clung to me. I hoped the other men weren't asleep yet and they might see the flashlight beams and come out to help.

  Soon other flashlight beams joined my husband's and I gave thanks once again for the power of the clan.
The atmosphere in our trailer lightened instantly as their deep, comforting muffled voices filtered in the thin trailer walls, and progress could be heard in the clicks and cranks of machinery being moved.

The sense of relief I experienced knowing a group of strong, able men were helping keep us from harm's way was trumped only by the sense of relief felt once our rig's nose was headed into the storm. 

 The thrashing trailer settled into a gentle rocking...the shrill whistle of wind became a constant low hum. Kids fell asleep...I thanked my angels.


In our modern world, and especially in our mild Southern CA weather, we don't often have the opportunity to witness a primal display of group masculinity: protection, strength, confidence. It has the power to settle the strongest of worries and fears that the feminine has for the safety of her children, her village.

The tribes and clans of long ago came to mind: the men who united to bravely defend and protect their villages and kinfolk; the circles that were made with covered wagons, just as we now make with trucks and trailers.

Most of us have experienced dads/boyfriends/husbands braving a storm to tow a car, run into a store, get a child to the doctor. But I think few of us have witnessed a group, a tribe, a clan of masculinity collectively assisting one another and protecting eachother's women and children in the face of a common threat.

I was reminded of just how often I have my guard up, how often I have to wear my daddy and mommy suit , with fireman being gone half the days and nights in a month.  I was forced to relax into only the nurturing role, not the protector role, which allowed me the opportunity to really feel my vulnerability in a refreshingly feminine way.  It was in this vulnerability that I was able to appreciate the masculinity that surrounded me.

I was reminded of this experience Danielle LaPorte posted about - a post about strong, vulnerable men that deeply moved me, just as this night of Arabian winds did.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fit Fun for Family Vacations - Guest Post by Kendra Thornton

With spring break and summer travels right around the corner, I'm honored to have teamed up with Kendra Thorntontravel expert, TV spokeswoman, PR businesswoman and busy mama of 3, to bring you tips for keeping your family healthy and happy on your journey.  

If anyone knows how to stay healthy and fit while traveling with kids, it's Kendra, having been born and raised in the travel industry.  You'll find her tips below, followed by mine.   

Fit Fun for Family Vacations
written by Kendra Thornton, Travel Advocate, TV Spokesperson, PR Businesswoman 
As a mom, I find it important to help my family make healthy choices. We do this on a regular basis at home. On the road, making healthy choices can be more complicated, but I have a few tricks I’d like to share:
1. Bring Dry, Healthy Snacks
Whenever my family travels, I pack healthy snacks to bring along with us. My kids love my homemade trail mix. I include healthy nuts and dried fruit, and I usually include a few M&Ms to satisfy the sweet tooth. Granola and fresh, raw veggies also make great snacks on the go. By keeping these snacks handy, I’m able to ward off the rumbling tummies that make little ones grouchy. Also, none of us are tempted to overindulge when we finally get to a restaurant as long as we haven’t gotten over hungry en route.
2. Make Good Choices at Restaurants
Of course, traveling usually means eating out, and that can mean high-calorie meals. When traveling, I try to stick to the standards my family follows when eating out near home. First, I choose restaurants with healthy options. Mediterranean cuisine tends to be a healthy alternative, and places that feature vegetarian food also have good, lean options. When eating out, I also cut back by ordering hamburgers without the bun or requesting no cheese.
3. Walk for Exercise
You probably won’t get your regular exercise routine in during a family vacation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work out. My family always walks a lot on vacation. We walk around amusement parks and other attractions. We also choose to walk rather than taking a tram or shuttle. We make a game of taking the stairs instead of the elevator at hotels and other places. Remember, every step counts on your family’s journey to health.
4. Go on a Run
My family likes to run. Whenever I plan a trip, I check to see if our stay coincides with a local fun run or other event. If so, I make reservations for my family to participate. Often, my entire family can enjoy a local 5k. Some of these events even feature short-distance races for the kids. These events also help us to learn more about the community where we are visiting.
When my family makes healthy choices on vacation, it helps us to more easily return to a healthy routine when we return home and these tips will be used on our upcoming trip to Orlando. We even booked a hotel with a nice gym for convenience and also just in case it rains. This proved to be a difficult process as there are just so many hotels in Orlando. Sites like Gogobot however are a huge help as they let you read user reviews so you know exactly what you’re getting into. I hope these tips help your family as well.

Top 5 Ways To Keep Healthy (and Sane) While Traveling With Kids 

written by Kim Plancich, tree-hugger, lightworker, Buddha-and-beer-lover, fire wife and mom of 2. 

5. Unplug.

You're getting away for a reason, right?  

We've never had a DVD player in the car, although we haven't driven cross-country with the kids yet...  But I have vivid memories of staring out the window on road trips as a kid, daydreaming and looking for shapes in the clouds, and I smile to myself when I see my kids doing the same in the backseat.  If the thought of car or plane rides without devices for the kids sounds unbearable, then hide them after arriving, and tell them mom and dad are unplugging, too.  Make a game of it, and give them a minute more at the park/zoo/arcade/pool/amusement park for every time they catch you checking your phone for anything other than the time or the camera.  If they throw an epic fit at the first sign of boredom, stand your ground!  They'll soon cross over from boredom to creatively assessing their new environment.  Helping our kids and ourselves be truly present in the moment reaps vast rewards in discovery and connection.  

4. Stop and smell the roses. 

 If flying, arriving at the airport with enough time to explore will keep everyone's sanity healthy, so kids aren't stuck sitting all day in terminals, planes and trams. This list highlights the top ten kid-friendly airports.  If driving, stop often, even just to stretch and do some roadside yoga headstands for the amusement of passersby. This can be difficult for those drivers, like my husband, who like to push on through to get to the destination quicker.  But enjoying the journey really does make for a happier crew and some fun, unexpected memories.

3. Snack well.

I'm known as the mom-who-always-has-snacks for good reason - my son can go from happily playing to whining and flopping on the ground in 3.2 seconds if I don't keep protein in him.  Trail mix too boring?  Avert low-blood-sugar meltdowns with different snacks from those your kids normally eat at home.   We love pistachios, dried fruit, beef jerky, pepitas and sunflower seeds.  Clif bars, dark chocolate-covered almonds and these protein-packed "Cookie Dough" Balls are our favorite snack "treats." If you can take a little cooler bag with you, whole carrots, cucumber spears and yogurt tubes offer a refreshing change.  And of course, drink lots of water.

2.  Keep your vitamin/supplement routine up.

This is one of the most important things for me.  

No matter what new, strange, unhealthy things we may eat, or what kind of time/routine change may throw our bodies for a loop, keeping up our whole food supplements and daily probiotics is an absolute must to keep our immune systems and digestion in working order. 

I divvy up our whole food herbal multivitamins from Dr. Schulze and our Bio-Kult probiotics, both of which the kids just chomp and swallow, into baggies for easy transport, and our bottle of Green Pasture Fermented Cod Liver Oil in our snack/cooler bag.  Not only do the kids seem to enjoy the one routine from home that travels with us, but keeping it up gives me peace of mind for my final tip......

.....1. Forget about staying healthy once a day. 

Or however often suits you. Let your kiddos get that roadside slushy or airport Cinnabon (gasp!) or deep-fried Oreo. Showing my kids that letting a little loose nutritionally (and otherwise!) when on vacation is a big part of them learning how to keep themselves un-deprived and in a healthy relationship with food as they grow into more independence.  

I enjoy a bite of the guilty (and sometimes downright nasty) pleasure myself, and make sure to keep my mouth shut about the carcinogenic "bad colors" or cavity-potential it may have.  They hear enough of my rhetoric at home to know it already, and after all, we have to put our vitamins and supplements to the test, right?

Happy trails to you!

Love + light ~



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