A New Contributor!
I’m so excited to announce a new contributor to this blog! Jen Wade is an independent distributor for Young Living Essential Oils, as well as a licensed Bradley Method instructor and certified doula. She’s the kind of person who elevates research to an art form and has long been one of my most-informed friends when it comes to matters of health and wellness. For years I’ve been calling her up whenever I want an informed opinion on things like organic food, vaccinations, hormone-regulation, or chemicals effect on the body. She’s also just incredibly fun and easy to talk to, so I was ecstatic when she approached me about writing on the blog. Starting in March, she’ll be posting monthly about health and wellness, with all kinds of DIY recipes for anything from skin care to household cleaners to allergy relief. She’s a vocal advocate for the use of essential oils in the home and is a distributor for Young Living Essential Oils and will be showing us all the ways that they can help our families be healthier.
Last week I interviewed Jen, who lives in Texas with her husband Alan and son Beau, asking her about her own journey into healthy living, as well as the science and use of essential oils ::
You’ve been interested in healthy living and nutrition for as long as I’ve known you, but there must have been a beginning. When did you first get interested in healthy living and what was your motivation?
Well, it’s been a long journey for me of learning and researching and constantly striving to be as healthy as possible. It started in about 2008 when I was diagnosed with a neuropathy condition and the neurologist wanted to prescribe me medication for dealing with the symptoms and told me it was just something I would have to live with for the rest of my life. She never once talked to me about nutrition, chemicals I was putting in and on my body, and possible reasons why I was dealing with sharp tingling pains as a healthy 23-year-old girl. At this point, I started to do my own research and realized that my diet of “sugar-free”, “fat-free” processed foods and the personal care items I used on a daily basis were all full of chemicals known to be neurotoxins. This is the point where I began to question what was in foods, drinks, beauty and personal care items, and even household items that contain chemicals which cause unnecessary damage to our bodies.
What are the things that still motivate you on your journey of health?
The thing that motivates me the most is being a mom and wanting to expose my children to the least amount of toxic burden as possible. I want to feel good about the things I put in and on and around their little bodies. The other thing that motivates me is knowing that so many friends and family members aren’t educated about chemicals in food, personal care products, or even typical over-the-counter medications and how all of these things can create a lot of damage in our bodies. I want to be able to share and help others be able to make healthier choices for their lives.
In your opinion, what are the biggest obstacles to health and wellness for an average family?
I think the biggest obstacle is education. We are so bombarded with ads and media funded by big corporations that push unhealthy products and I think most people are unaware that there is even a need for change. The second obstacle for the average family is finances, but I really feel it all has to do with priorities on how you choose to budget your finances. I am a stay-at-home mom and my husband is a teacher and we have always made our health a priority over other things that we could be spending our money on. Also, most people would be surprised to find that eating healthy and switching to more natural solutions isn’t actually as expensive as you would think.
I know that you’ve been using essential oils for several years. What do you like about essential oils?
There are so many things I love about essential oils. The first being that there is literally an oil for everything! If you have a health concern, there is an oil that can help! God created this earth full of plants that have healing properties for us to use, and I love that I can use an oil that will work on a cellular level to heal my body instead of a man-made chemical that could be causing more damage than healing. I love that mankind has been using herbs and oils for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing as long as we’ve been on this earth. I love that I can replace all of my household cleaning products with simple and cheap recipes that include essential oils. I love that I can use them for anything from boosting our immune system, aiding with sleep, combating allergy symptoms, to healing boo-boos all in the same day!
Why do you use Young Living Essential Oils over any other brand?
I researched essential oils for half a year before deciding to get a wholesale membership with Young Living and use their oils. The biggest reason I use Young Living is because I know they are the purest essential oils you can buy. The FDA doesn’t regulate the essential oil industry so the oils I was once buying from the health food store that said “100% pure organic” most likely had a fraction of the bottle that was the essential oil and the rest diluted with synthetic odorless chemicals. I love that Young Living has been around for over 20 years and oversees the entire process of creating essential oils, from the seed that goes in the ground all the way to the bottling process. I love that they are all about having the best and purest products and want every customer and member to visit their farms and be a part of the harvest and distillation process. When I talk about essential oils, I always make a point to say that I would never use other brands of essential oils the way I use Young Living’s essential oils. Young Living is far superior and more pure than any other brand, especially store bought oils. This website has more about Young Living’s process: www.seedtoseal.com.
What’s the science behind essential oils? Why do they work?
I don’t feel like I could give a full explanation to this in one little paragraph because there are complex reasons why essential oils work in our bodies. But basically, essential oils are volatile, aromatic liquids that are extracted from trees, shrubs, bushes, flowers, roots, and seeds through steam distillation. Each essential oil is so complex with hundreds of different compounds and constituents that contribute to their therapeutic effects when used on, in, and around our bodies. The tiny molecules of essential oils can penetrate our cell membranes and travel throughout the blood and tissues when we inhale, apply topically, or even take internally and then aid in healing of the entire body on a cellular level. I have a book called Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple by David Stewart that goes into so much more detail about all of this and it’s a great book to have!
What are some other ways that you maintain a healthy lifestyle?
The main things we do for our family to maintain health is choosing to eat whole foods about 85-90% of the time, making exercise a priority, using essential oils and other homeopathic remedies for our health and wellness, and choosing not to let negativity and anxiety into our lives. I pray and make God a center of everything and give over control to Him and then do my part to take care of the body He gave me. I was once controlled by fear and anxiety and giving that up to God on a daily basis is probably the most important thing I can do for my overall wellbeing.
Sometimes it feels like I can’t afford organic food, chemical-free cleaners, essential oils and everything else I might need for a healthy home, but you run your home on a modest budget. How do you do it?
I can totally relate to that! I started out by slowly replacing processed foods with whole food options and learning how to create meal plans that are simple and don’t require a lot of ingredients or meat. I think a lot of people use the excuse that they can’t afford to eat healthy but if you didn’t buy processed junk food or go out to eat and only ate produce, meats, and whole grains, you would be surprised at how much you could get for your money. So we eat a lot of beans and rice, a lot of vegetables, less meat than a typical family probably consumes, and smaller portion sizes. I can’t afford to buy 100% organic but I do my best and don’t stress about it if I can’t. When you learn that you can replace all of your home cleaning products with simple recipes, you will be amazed how much you can save. I used to buy chemical-free “green” cleaners that costs around $5.00 a bottle and then switched to Young Living’s Thieves household cleaner for almost all of my cleaning… that cost me $0.75 for one made up spray bottle! I also make my own laundry detergent, foaming hand soap, body wash, etc. with simple ingredients and essential oils and the cost is way lower than buying those products in a store. We don’t buy over-the-counter meds and Rx like most people probably do and we use essential oils and other homeopathic remedies for everything. It’s all a matter of where you want your money to go and figuring out what is important to you.
Thanks so much, Jen! I’m so excited to see what else she shares with us in the coming months. On a personal note, I’ve been dialoguing with Jen for several years about essential oils. As essential oils became more popular, Jen was a great source for both solid information and personal testimony. Recently I purchased my first batch of oils and will be learning how to incorporate them into our lifestyle. I’ll share more of my personal journey with oils on Instagram and Twitter, and let Jen lead the way here on the blog :) I will also offer Young Living oils here on the blog, if anyone is interested.
Have a great weekend!
(All photos used with permission)