Category Archives: Social Change

The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle- Only Here Until November 30th!

I am so excited to share this amazing deal with you! The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle contains 48 e-books (worth over $500) and 21 discount codes all for just $39! But hurry, it’s only on sale until November 30th!

Autoimmune Wellness Bundle
If you aren’t familiar with e-book bundles, they typically include a variety of e-books as well as discount codes, all for a huge discount and sold for a limited time. Not all bundles are a good deal and I only support those few that provide a large variety of the best-quality resources for a truly amazing deal–and the Autoimmune Wellness Bundle definitely delivers!

This is the very first bundle to focus on exclusively autoimmune protocol-friendly resources! And it contains all of them! Yes, every single AIP e-book ever created–including cookbooks, meal plans, and guides–are included in this bundle! Even better, this bundle is full of lifestyle guides to help you tackle all the other stuff too, like stress management, sleep, body image, and movement. Need help troubleshooting the autoimmune protocol? Then you’ll love the collection of included e-books that takes you beyond the basics to help you hone in on root issues and regain your health. Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, autoimmune expert and author of The Paleo Approach has personally vetted every single resource included in this bundle. The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle is quite simply the best AIP resource on the planet! And it’s only available until Monday! Check out all the details here.

The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle features 48 e-books and 21 discount codes for just $39. That is over 92% off what you would pay if you bought each e-book separately! Plus, you could save hundreds more dollars by taking advantage of the coupon codes!

Included in this bundle:

  • 16 AIP Cookbooks and Meal Plans (total value $188)
  • 16 Lifestyle and Exercise Guides (total value $207)
  • 16 Beyond the Basics e-books (total value $136)
  • Best of AIP Cookbook, exclusive to this bundle!
  • 21 Discount Codes for AIP-friendly vendors and products

And, it’s only available for four days! Yes, this amazing sale ends on Monday November 30th, so go grab it right now!

Even if you don’t follow the autoimmune protocol, you will love the Autoimmune Wellness Bundle! The cookbooks included are filled with delicious recipes that everyone will enjoy and the majority of the additional resources are useful no matter who you are!

As if a great collection of e-books wasn’t enough, the bundle also includes exclusive discount codes from all my favorite companies and authors that make AIP-compliant foods, products, and programs! In addition to getting 48 e-books for only 81¢ each, you could save hundreds more dollars by taking advantage of these coupons! The potential value of these discounts and coupon codes hasn’t even been added to the advertised value of the bundle! But you could easily recoup the entire cost of the bundle just by using one or two of these coupons!

Autoimmune Wellness Bundle

This bundle also includes the Best of AIP Cookbook, a NEW e-book that can only be found as part of this bundle! Created by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, the Best of AIP Cookbook contains over 190 recipes from the best autoimmune chefs in the community! It’s a fantastic book and you can only get it here!

The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle is an entirely digital product, which means you can get instant access by purchasing it right now! It’s compatible with your computer, tablet and smartphone! (Instructions are at the bottom of the bundle website if you need them.)

Now you see why I’m so excited about this bundle!

Wait! How can you offer so many resources at such a steep discount?

E-book bundles typically include a variety of e-books and other digital resources sold for a price far lower than what you would pay for each e-book individually. How does this work? There’s two major incentives for authors to donate their e-books to bundles: expanding their audience and affiliate commissions. Chances are good that you won’t be familiar with every e-book included in a bundle sale. This is what’s in it for the authors: the large number of people who look at their e-books (but normally wouldn’t have) and become new fans. When bundles have a strong theme like this one, this advantage goes both ways: you are the perfect target audience for the e-book contributors and they are great resources for you! Contributing authors also become affiliates for the bundle so there’s still a mechanism for financial compensation for the hard work they put in to creating a great resource.

Bundles also typically contain discount codes. Again, this is what’s in it for the companies: you might try out a new product and become a new regular shopper. Because bundles are such great deals, the excitement is very high, sales tend to be fantastic, and this amounts to substantial exposure to new markets. And hopefully, the huge range of discounts included in this bundle will alert you to some great AIP products you didn’t know about yet!

This model only works when bundles are very thoughtfully organized, provide unique and high quality content, and are sold for a very limited time. The excitement over a legitimately amazing deal means lots of sales and lots exposure for the contributors. When bundle sales last too long or when there’s too many very similar bundle sales to choose from or when the advertising for a bundle includes overinflated values, then the excitement fades and so do the benefits to the contributors. The organizers of the Autoimmune Wellness Bundle are fully honoring the contributions from so many authors and vendors by doing this right! That’s why this bundle was so carefully crafted and is only available until November 30th!

Autoimmune Wellness Bundle

Bundle Details

When I’m trying to decide on whether to buy a bundle, I look at which books I would enjoy, total up the value, and then see if that’s more than the cost of the bundle (then I treat everything else as a bonus). I mean, it’s great that this bundle includes 48 e-books and is being sold at a 92% savings, but that doesn’t really mean anything if there’s only two books in the whole bundle that I’m interested in! So, here’s the nitty gritty of what’s in this bundle. Have a look and see if this bundle would be a great resource for you.

Here’s what’s included in this bundle:

AIP Cookbooks and Meal Plans

 16 AIP Cookbooks and Meal Plans (total value $197)

  • The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott ($17 value)
  • The Alternative Autoimmune Cookbook by Angie Alt ($17 value)
  • 85 Amazing AIP Breakfast Recipes by Eileen Laird ($13 value)
  • The Best of AIP Cookbook by Sarah Ballantyne ($25 value)
  • The He Won’t Know It’s Paleo Cookbook by Bre’anna Emmitt ($15 value)
  • The AIP Paleo Cajun Cookbook by Tara Perillo ($10 value)
  • We Can All Scream for Ice Cream by Jennifer Robins and Vivian Cheng ($10 value)
  • Butter Your Broth, the AIP Version by Kiersten Peterson ($6 value)
  • The Paleo Approach Dinner Club by Sarah Ballantyne ($17 value)
  • AIP Paleo Snacks and Quick Lunches by Jo Romero ($7 value)
  • 28 Days of AIP by Christina Feindel ($7 value)
  • 28 Days of Low-FODMAP AIP by Christina Feindel ($10 value)
  • Holiday Feast (AIP Edition) by Cassandra Garcia ($10 value)
  • The Paleo Approach Quick-Start Guide by Sarah Ballantyne ($18 value)
  • The FODMAP Free Paleo Breakthrough by Anne Angelone ($10 value)
  • The Little Cookbook of Gluten-Free Waffles by Dora Siah ($5 value)

Lifestyle and Exercise Guides

16 Lifestyle and Exercise Guides (total value $212)

  • The Primal Connection by Mark Sisson ($10 value)
  • Go to Bed by Christina Feindel and Sarah Ballantyne ($17 value)
  • Accessible Workouts by Peter Hirsh ($10 value)
  • Stress Solutions by Evan Brand ($27 value)
  • Relax by Michele Spring ($15 value)
  • Healing, Humor, and Hashimoto’s (excerpt) by Stacey Robbins ($5 value)
  • 30 Days of Prayer: Healing Autoimmunity for Women by Ruschelle Khanna ($5 value)
  • My Butter Life Personal Care by Renee from Hard Lotion ($5 value)
  • REM Rehab by Evan Brand ($29 value)
  • Yoga for the Everyday Flow of Life by RX Yoga ($12 value)
  • How To Biohack the Ultimate Healthy Home by Ben Greenfield ($6 value)
  • Getting Started with Your Vegetable Garden (Excerpt from “The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook”) by Diana Rogers ($7 value)
  • The Paleo Miracle by Joe Salama ($10 value)
  • The Paleo Miracle 2 by Joe Salama ($10 value)
  • 21 Step Body Image Remix Excerpt by Summer Inannen ($39 value)
  • Stretchsitting (Excerpt from “10 Steps To A Pain-Free Back”) by Esther Gokhale ($5 value)

Beyond the Basics
 16 Beyond the Basics e-books (total value $135)

  • The Autoimmune Paleo Breakthrough by Anne Angelone ($10 value)
  • Essays from 2014 by Terry Wahls ($10 value)
  • The Paleo Approach Reintroduction Guide by Sarah Ballantyne ($13 value)
  • Biohacking Autoimmune DIY by Petra Chambers-Sinclair ($9 value)
  • Birth Control Unlocked by Stefani Ruper ($9 value)
  • How To Interpret Your Lab Tests for Optimal Levels by Jamie Koonce ($20 value)
  • Reintroducing Foods on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol by Eileen Laird ($9 value)
  • Fantastic Fiber by Sarah Ballantyne ($15 value)
  • Brain Health and Stress (excerpt from Why Isn’t My Brain Working?) by Datis Kharrazian ($5 value)
  • The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Foods to Include and Eliminate by Anne Angelone ($5 value)
  • The 10-Day Paleo Transition by Anne Angelone ($5 value)
  • The Causes of Autoimmune Disease (Excerpt from “The Paleo Approach”) by Sarah Ballantyne ($5 value)
  • Quit PMS by Lauren Geertsen ($9 value)
  • Overcoming Hashimoto’s Fatigue by Izabella Wentz ($5 value)
  • Why Hormones Matter (Excerpt from The Hormone Cure) by Sara Gottfried ($5 value)
  • Safe Supplements for Autoimmune Disease by Anne Angelone ($3 value)

The Best of AIP Cookbook was created exclusively for this bundle! Enjoy an amazing diversity of exquisite flavors while you embark on the autoimmune protocol with this NEW resource, only available here! With contributions from more than 30 leading Paleo and AIP bloggers and authors, this cookbook includes the best of the best 100% AIP recipes! Fill your plate with flavor and enjoy every bite on the road to better health! This 223-page e-book includes: a summary of the autoimmune protocol, and over 190 Best Of recipes, all 100% strict AIP!

Want to know more details about the included books? Simply go to the bundle website and click on any book image for a full description!

Now, you can see why this bundle isn’t just for those with autoimmune disease! Even just a quick glance at the resources included is enough to know that this bundle is filled with amazing resources that everyone will enjoy!

Exclusive Discounts and Coupon Codes

To give you even more value and support for your health journey, The Autoimmune Wellness Bundle also includes discount codes for 21 discount codes for AIP-friendly vendors and products!

Because the bundle organizers don’t want to assume that you’ll use every coupon code, the huge amount of money you could save by taking advantage of these discounts hasn’t even been calculated into the value of the bundle! That’s right! The bundle is worth over $500 NOT including the coupons and discount codes!

This is another way that I determine if a bundle is a good deal for me. I see whether any of the included discount codes and coupons are for products I normally buy or have been meaning to buy. If a good coupon (or two or three) will save me the cost of the bundle just by purchasing items I would have anyway, then I get to look at all the included e-books and other discount codes as a bonus!

It’s fantastic to see so many discounts and coupons for AIP-friendly products, services and programs!
Coupons

 

Discounts and Coupon Codes

  • AIP Batch Cook                                     $20 off
  • Bare Bones                                     $10 off
  • Barefoot Provisions                         10% off
  • Ben Greenfield Fitness Systems             10% off
  • Fatworks                                     20% off
  • Kasandrinos                                     15% off
  • Klio Tea                                                 10% off
  • Kombucha Kamp                                     Free gift with purchase
  • MadeOn Skincare                         Free gift with purchase
  • Morrocco Method                         15% off
  • One Stop Paleo Shop                         10% off
  • Paleo on the Go                                     $25 off
  • Power Balls                                     20% off
  • Primal Life Organics                         20% off
  • Pure Indian Foods Ghee                         $5 off
  • SAD to AIP in 6 Weeks                         $20 off
  • Step and Go                                     10% off
  • The Eczema Company                         10% off
  • ThePaleoMom Consulting                         $25 off
  • Vital Proteins                                     20% off + free shipping
  • Wild Zora                                     15% off

So, what are you waiting for?

Pretty amazing deal right? Probably the best part is that every single resource has been specially selected and vetted by the bundle organizers to create the highest quality bundle possible! This really is the ultimate resource for the autoimmune community or anyone looking to heal their bodies and enjoy optimal health!

This is a VERY limited time offer so go here and check out all the details and see just how much you are getting for the awesome deal of $39!

Autoimmune Wellness Bundle

If you bought every e-book in this bundle separately, it would cost you over $500! But, it’s available for a short time for only $39! That’s 92% off the retail price!!! And that doesn’t include the hundreds of dollars you could potentially save with all the amazing discount codes! Plus, the quality of each item in this bundle is outstanding! This is a great bundle!!!

 

Shopping AIP or Paleo at Aldi

Shopping AIP or Paleo at Aldi

One of the biggest paleo or AIP diet deterrents I hear people talk about is the cost. There is no denying that eating junk food or processed foods is usually cheaper than eating organic, paleo, gluten free, or AIP. That being said, it is not at all impossible to eat a healthy diet on a budget. I have been doing it for years. My trick is that I shop at multiple stores and buy each ingredient at the place where it is cheapest. You can read more about this in my post about creating a grocery price binder. That may sound daunting, but in reality it means that I go to 2-4 stores throughout the week and I buy the occasional item in bulk online. I buy my plantain chips at Big Lots because they are only $1, I buy any specific health food stuff like my raw sauerkraut or broth bones at Earth Fare or Whole Foods, and then everything else I buy from Walmart or Aldi. Now you are probably thinking “What?! Stop right there! A health food blogger shops at Big Box and Discount Grocery stores?! She’s a fraud, run away!!!” Well just hang on. I realize that not all of the practices of big chains like Walmart are good and trust me when I say that if I could afford to get everything from local farmers, the farmers market and small businesses I would, but in reality I am human. I am a human who works in human service type jobs married to another human who works in a church… suffice it to say we have a limited (read: very tiny) budget. However, we place a big importance on our health so we cut back in other areas to give ourselves some more room in our grocery budget and then we shop as smart as possible and one of the smartest choices I ever made was shopping at Aldi.

Aldi is a discount grocery store that is owned by the same people who own Trader Joes. They have deeply discounted prices because they are super bear bones. They only carry the most popular grocery items and there is less of a selection among items so instead of 15 kinds of pasta sauce to choose from there are usually about 2. They also don’t have fancy amenities and they look a little more wharehouse-ish than most grocery stores. They also have a small number of employees who primarily just check you out. You bag your own groceries (in bags you bring yourself) and put your own cart away. So, its not a luxurious experience, but if you’re like me you would gladly forgo the hot bar, coffee counter, free samples and endless plastic bags in order to save a ton of money. And trust me you will save money! We are not talking a few cents here, we are talking dollars. I get the majority of my grocery staples at Aldi and I usually end up paying less than $60 a week for them all. So, that being said I have decided to put together a little shopping list of the groceries I buy at Aldi to help encourage you to check it out if you’re lucky enough to have one in your neighborhood. As you go through the list you will see that some of the items are labeled (Not AIP), these are the items I buy for my hubby to eat. He is paleo/whole 30 but not AIP. If you are not fully Paleo or AIP they also have good deals on rice, corn chips, and gluten free products as well.

Shopping AIP or Paleo at Aldi

Shopping AIP or Paleo at Aldi:

Snacks:

Dates

Dried Apricots

Nuts (Not AIP)

Salsa (Not AIP)

Sweet Potato Chips (Not AIP)

Unsweetened Natural Applesauce

Baking/Cooking:

Vanilla Extract (Contains Alcohol, Omit or Follow Cooking Guidelines for Alcohol if on Intro AIP)

Baking Soda

Honey

Maple Syrup

Olive Oil

Coconut Oil

Dried Herbs

Canned Pumpkin

Produce:

Organic Apples

Organic Bananas

Organic Greens (Spinach, Kale…)

Local Sweet Potatoes

Organic Avocados

Frozen Vegetables

Frozen Berries

Local Seasonal Items (Pumpkins, Watermelon, Squash)

Plenty of other conventionally grown produce (onions, carrots, celery, mangos, berries, lettuce, pineapple…)

Canned Tomatoes and Tomato Paste (Not AIP)

Meat:

Wild Caught Salmon

Grass-Fed Ground Beef

Antibiotic Free Chicken

Standard Chicken (whole and in parts)

Bacon

Standard Pork Loins and Pork Chops

Standard Steaks

Ground Turkey

Frozen Burgers

Frozen shrimp

Frozen scallops

Frozen Tilapia

Standard Eggs (Not AIP)

Drinks:

Seltzer Water

Fresh Orange Juice

Almond Milk (Not AIP)

Note: The information in this post is solely my opinion based on my own experiences. I am in no way affiliated with Aldi or any of the stores named. 

I Don’t Have Time for AIP

Myth-Busters Excuses Edition: "I don't have time for AIP"

“I really respect you for following that diet, but I don’t have time to do all of that cooking/research/shopping!” This is something I hear a lot from people in my day-to-day interactions. These are people who know that they need to adjust their diet and lifestyle, and they are interested in the topic, but part of them is still hesitant and looking for an excuse.

Transitioning to the autoimmune protocol or really any real food diet from the standard American diet is an adjustment in time management, because the standard American diet is built around the idea of speed and convenience. Fast food, microwavable food, pre-packaged food, processed food, its all designed to keep you out of the kitchen, what its not designed to do is keep you healthy. So, if you want to be healthy some level of cooking is going to be involved. With that in mind, let’s break down this excuse.

What you’re saying: “I don’t have time for all of that cooking/research/shopping.”

What you mean: “That’s a lot of work and I am looking for an easier answer.”

  • Well good luck my friend! If you find an easier answer that actually works you will become extremely popular extremely fast, because all of the other chronically ill people out there who have tried every pill, fad diet, cleanse, and miracle cure with no luck will want to know your secret! The honest truth is that the only magic cure for getting healthy is giving up what is making you unhealthy and in this case that is the food you are putting in your mouth. Plus what’s easier: cooking or spending the rest of your life in and out of doctor’s offices and pharmacies?

What you mean: “I don’t value myself and my health enough to commit that much time and energy getting better.”

  • If you’re in this camp, you are not alone. Many people grow up believing that it is somehow selfish or wrong to invest in your physical wellbeing, so they sabotage themselves and find themselves incapable of making change. This is an incredibly hard thought process to break, but you need to break it. The best thing you can do for the people around you is to get healthy. Your family, friends, children, even the people you work with, will benefit if you become the healthiest version of yourself. You may also feel that you aren’t worth the time or effort because you feel like your body has let you down, believe in your body. You are beautifully and wonderfully made, your body is not a mistake, it just needs some help. I highly encourage anyone who is struggling with these types of feelings to seek the help of a licensed counselor in order to break this vicious cycle and move forward in your healing journey.

What you mean: I am self-conscious and I don’t want to be different from everyone else/I’m worried about my social life.

  • This is a common concern. Most of us have sailed through life with the understanding that things are just easier when you follow the crowd. No one wants to be marginalized. However, I encourage you to really step back and think about what elements of your social life are important. Is it the pizza that brings you to the girl’s night or is it your friends? Is it the drinks that takes you to the club or is it the dancing? Is it the coffee that draws you the hang out or is it the conversation? Many of our social customs revolve around food, but relationships and fun do not require food. Your true friends will support you in your commitment to your health and you will find other ways to socialize. Drink tea not coffee, dance don’t drink, go for a walk and a picnic instead of out to lunch, go to a movie instead of a restaurant.

What you mean: I don’t want to give up anything else in my life in order to work on my health.

  • As with most things in life, commitment to something new usually does require some sacrifice. Staying up late to celebrate a friend’s birthday party means you are sacrificing your productivity at work tomorrow due to lack of sleep, those new boots you just bought sacrificed you your savings, and that pizza you ate for dinner last night sacrificed your health. If you are sick and/or suffering from an autoimmune disease how much are you currently sacrificing? Your quality of life? Your ability to work? The ability to play with your kids? Life without the side effects of medication? The only difference between these sacrifices and those you may have to make to get healthy is that you are used to these. Plus, your current sacrifices have no real reward, sacrificing junk food or late night TV in order to regain your health and well-being is a pretty big reward.

We all have excuses that stand in the way of us being our best selves, however if you are really serious about regaining control of your health you need to break down your excuses and move past them until there are no excuses left, because that is what you deserve.

Myth-Busters Excuses Edition: "I don't have time for AIP"

Why Can Some People Eat Junk Food Without Getting Sick?

Why Can Some People Eat Junk Food Without Getting Sick?

Why Can Some People Eat Junk Food Without Getting Sick?

Healing diets like the autoimmune protocol or paleo diet can produce wonderful results, but there is no denying that the transition from the standard American diet is hard. It takes time for our pallets to change, for our cravings to subside, and for our lives to adjust to different routines and customs surrounding food. We do not always accept these challenges with willing hearts, and almost everyone I know has asked themselves the same question at one point or another during this transition, “why can some people eat whatever they want and still be healthy, but I have to eat like this?”

It is totally natural to have this “why me?” feeling from time to time, because on the surface it just doesn’t seem to add up. You’ve just spent an hour at the grocery store searching out rutabagas, coconut flour, and bones for your broth only to get in line to check out behind some 105 pound, fitness magazine model, with her diet soda, sugar free yogurt, and lean cuisine meal and you want to scream. Been there, but here’s the thing you can’t compare how you feel to how someone else looks. You honestly can’t even compare how you feel to how someone else says that they feel. I have close friends who give me a hard time about how many health problems I have but don’t recognize that not menstruating, having diarrhea, being chronically tired, not being able to lose weight or getting colds 5 times a year are all major health problems.

Here are some interesting facts for you:

  • 40 million adults in the US ages 18 and older have a diagnosed anxiety disorder (18% of the population) (Source)
  • Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the US for ages 15-44 with the median age of onset at 32 years of age. (Source)
  • The number of patients diagnosed with depression increases by apprx. 20% per year (Source)
  • States with the highest rates of depression also have the highest rates of obesity, heart disease, stroke, sleep disorders (Source)
  • More than 1/3 of adult Americans are considered obese (Source)
  • An average adult in the US sleeps for 6 hours per night (Source)
  • More than 40% of adults say that they lay awake at light because of stress (Source)
  • 83% of people with celiac disease go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed with other conditions (Source)
  • IBS affects 10-15% of the entire population of the US (Source)

Why Can Some People Eat Junk Food Without Getting Sick?

So what does all of this mean? It means that most of our population is actually walking around feeling pretty crumby. In fact, I believe that feeling crumby has become so common that it is now just the cultural norm. So, when someone decides that there may be a different way to live and takes steps to achieve that they are seen as having problems, when in reality many of the issues are ones that we all share.

Now, I am not one of those people who believes that just because I can’t eat dairy all dairy is evil. Some people can tolerate raw, grass fed, dairy products just fine, in fact it may even be helpful for them. Many people tolerate eggs, nightshades, and even some grains without issues. But I am here to tell you that no one can tolerate a diet mountain dew and a bowl of easy mac without eventually experiencing some issues. Our bodies were not designed to eat chemicals, plain and simple.

So next time you find yourself in a slump, remember that comparison is the thief of joy. You do not know what is going on inside the lives or guts of anyone else but rest assured that you are on the right track and feel empowered that you valued yourself enough to step away from the pack and realize that feeling crumby is not normal!

Shopping For A Non Toxic Mattress

Shopping For a Non Toxic Mattress

Shopping For A Non Toxic Mattress

If you’ve followed my blog since the beginning then you probably know that I am pretty frugal. I upcycle clothes from the thrift store, I use almost no disposable products, and I use my heat and a/c as little as possible. That being said, I never pinch pennies on things that are an investment in my health. The money I save by using reusable products goes into the grocery budget so that we can afford to eat the best food and the money we save on utilities goes towards paying for doctor’s visits with my integrative health doctor. So, when it came time to look for a new mattress I didn’t just want the best deal, I wanted the best value.

We spend a third of each year sleeping. Think about that. The only other single activity you may spend that much time doing, is working at your job. You spend less time eating, exercising, reading, or socializing with friends then you do in your bed. Yet, when we think about our health, our mattress rarely comes to mind at all.

When my hubby and I first got married we didn’t have much and I, like many people, had little interest in taking what little money we did have and sinking it into a mattress. We had a queen size mattress that, while old, would work. I mean a mattress is a mattress right? Wrong. Over the first three years of our marriage we battled every sleep problem possible. Not being able to go to sleep, not being able to stay asleep, waking up in pain, going to sleep in pain, not being comfortable… the works. We chalked it up to not sleeping well together, not having enough space, being stressed, being sick, not having enough time to sleep, being on different schedules… Finally, we ran out of excuses. We were both focused on having a good sleep routine, we dedicated enough hours to sleeping, we weren’t stressed yet we were still tired each and every day and having a miserable time sleeping. I had chronic pain in my neck and shoulders and had experienced three episodes of having a disc derangement in my neck that took weeks to recover from. It was time for a new mattress. So we started saving and I started researching.

Through my involvement in the natural health community I become aware that there was more to a mattress than just its size and comfort. Some mattresses can be downright toxic.

Fire Retardants:

Did you know that by U.S. law, mattresses are required to withstand a two foot wide open flame from a blowtorch for 70 seconds? Yikes. I don’t know about you, but I never expected my mattress to be quite that fireproof. To meet this somewhat ridiculous standard, mattress manufacturers use toxic fire retardant chemicals to drench the mattress as the final step in their production process. As if that isn’t questionable enough, there are no regulations requiring manufacturers to disclose what chemicals they use. Here are some of the more commonly used fire retardants:

  • Boric Acid: A pesticide with a classification at Toxicity Category III from the EPA.
  • Melamine resin: contains formaldehyde
  • PCDE’s (polybrominated diphenyl ethers): Highly toxic, but more commonly used in mattresses made before 2004. Most manufacturers have now started phasing it out due to its toxicity.

Foam Off Gassing:

Over the past decade more and more people have become attracted to memory foam mattresses because of their comfort. Those that are looking to prolong the life of an old mattress often buy a foam topper for their bed as an added comfort measure. So, anyone who has ever unrolled a new topper or taken a new foam mattress out of the box, knows that there is an unpleasant smell that lasts for a few days. This smell is called off-gassing and it may actually be somewhat toxic. Memory foam is not normal foam. In order to manufacture memory foam, chemicals must be added to make it both more dense and viscous at the same time. These volatile compounds can include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), formaldehyde, benzene, methylene chloride, toluene, trichloroethane, naphthalene, perfluorocarbons and other chemicals that can be quite concerning.

All of these chemicals can leech into the air and the skin and in fact a study done in 2000 found that mattress emissions are toxic to the lungs and respiratory system of mice. (source)

Personally, I have found that synthetic chemicals in most forms are a potential trigger for my autoimmune disease. I don’t take many over the counter medications for this reason, I don’t burn scented candles or use scented room deodorizers, and I only use natural cosmetic products, so why on earth would I go through all of that only to sleep in a pool of toxic chemicals each night?

With this in mind, when I began looking for a new mattress I knew that I needed to figure out a way to find one that would not be a potential hazard to my health. When it came down to it I narrowed my search down to two options:

  1. Purchase an organic, non-foam mattress and utilize a doctor’s note to have it manufactured without fire retardants: When thinking about purchasing something safe we often go immediately towards things categorized as organic. There are a number of organic mattress options out there and let me tell you, I looked at them all. I talked to people that had them, I looked at reviews online, I researched them, and I compared prices on them. What I found is that they were expensive and they lacked durability. None of them had a substantial warranty and many of the reviews that I came across spoke to customers experiencing durability issues early on in use. This was a no-go for me because we do not have the money to invest in a new mattress every few years, whatever we bought needed to last for quite some time. Also, just because a mattress is organic does not mean that it is exempt from the fire safety standards. Even those that claim to use wool as a fire retardant still have to use chemicals on top of the wool to meet the U.S. regulations. The only way around this is to have a mattress specially manufactured for you with a prescription from a doctor saying that you can not be exposed to the fire retardants. This again, is also pricey.
  2. Buy An Intellibed: This was the option that we chose. Intellibed is a company that produces only non-toxic mattresses. They do this in two ways. The first is by avoiding memory foam. They use a soy based, furniture grade, foam that has not been altered with chemicals in the same way that memory foam has been so it does not off-gas. Plus it is used deep within the mattress not as the primary support. Second, to meet the fire retardant standards Intellibed uses an inert, silca-coated, fiber that is woven into the outer covering of the mattress. This form of fire retardant does not transfer to the body through any contact, does not get into the air and cannot be broken down. As a result intellibed mattresses are safe and non toxic. Intellibed mattresses are also incredibly durable and most come with a 30 year warranty!

Shopping for a non-toxic mattress

Our Intellibed:

I will be honest, I was super nervous about buying a bed online. It looked perfect on paper, but how was it going to be in reality? Thankfully, Intellibed offers an in home trial period, so if you don’t like it the bed can be returned. The funny thing is though, our trial period came and went and by the end of it I couldn’t imagine giving up my bed. I was falling asleep faster, staying asleep longer and waking up without any neck and shoulder pain. I am now completely hooked and it has made a huge difference in both my and my husband’s health. He has much more energy then he used to and wakes up much earlier, feeling refreshed.

So, if you are in the market for a new mattress I would highly recommend doing your research on mattress chemicals and checking out intellibed to see if they will be a good fit for your family. Also, since I loved our bed so much I have teamed up with intellibed to offer my readers a discount on Intellibed mattresses and products. By clicking HERE or adding the code SWEET10 at checkout online or over the phone, you will get 10% off your purchase.

Telling The Truth About Chronic Illness

Telling The Truth About Chronic Illness

Last week I shared a picture of myself on Instagram. Big deal, right? People do that literally every second of every day all around the world. I don’t know about you, but I share selfies when I like my outfit, when something cool happens, when I’m out with friends, or when I’m feeling silly. It’s a way of cataloging and sharing the good parts of my life, putting my best foot forward for the world to see. That’s what made that picture last week a little different. I wasn’t out with friends, I wasn’t happy and I didn’t look cute. I was sitting in a hospital bed, with no make up on, in what felt like the oldest hospital gown still in existence, having not eaten all day, waiting to have a camera put up my butt while I remained in full consciousness. It was a vulnerable moment, it was a challenging moment, it was real moment, and it needed to be shared.

telling the truth about chronic illness

When I became sick with the flare the led to my diagnosis of ulcerative colitis I was 21 years old, in my last semester of college and about to be engaged. My conversations with friends revolved around job fairs, wedding plans, college football games and what I was doing this weekend. I was on the brink of achieving everything I had ever dreamed of, so when I suddenly became sick my reaction was to ignore it and carry on. When I finally called my doctor to make an appointment I was so embarrassed that I locked myself in a room, far away from everyone else in my office so that no one that I worked with would hear me explain to the doctor that I was losing a lot of blood when I went to the bathroom.

I am not a shy person, as is probably evident by the existence of this blog, but in the years following my diagnosis I really struggled with my pride and the embarrassment that came with the nature of my disease. I didn’t want to explain to people that I bled when I pooped, or that it wasn’t something that was going to get better, I didn’t want people to look at me and assume that I had diarrhea all the time, I honestly just didn’t want to talk about it. What this resulted in was a constant feeling of failure and anxiety. I lived in fear that people would judge me, either because I hadn’t met their expectations and they didn’t know I was sick or because they would find out I was sick and either see me as being incapable, or reject me completely. That was an incredibly lonely time for me because even when I finally reached a point where I decided to tell people about my illness they had seen me pretend to be fine for so long that they didn’t know how to react and ended up ignoring the information.

When my husband and I moved to a new city last year I vowed to be completely open and honest with our new friends so that I could try and build a genuine and understanding community for myself. This took a lot of courage for me because I still feared that people would judge me or see me as being incompetent, but I powered through, and was open about my story with anyone who asked. The result has been incredible. Last Sunday, the day before my procedure, I stood in church after the service and one of my friends came up and asked me how I was feeling about the procedure. I told her I was anxious about the information I would get and dreading the discomfort. I didn’t sugar coat it, I didn’t skirt around what was involved, and I let my voice crack as I talked about my anxiety. The next day, I received text messages, voicemails and phone calls from friends who had been thinking about me and praying for me who and who genuinely wanted to see how things had gone. It was the strongest sense of community I have felt in a long time. I didn’t feel isolated in my experience and I wasn’t carrying around the burden of having to “be fine”.

My point is this, your story is your own and it is your right to keep it or share it with whomever you choose, but if keeping your illness a secret is coming from a place of pride and its causing you anxiety or isolation, it may be time to release yourself from the burden of secrecy and be honest with the people around you. Not everyone will respond positively, but you may just find the support and community you need.

Telling The Truth About Chronic Illness

Start the School Year Off Right

If you’re anything like me, summer has been all about relaxation, flexed schedules, vacations with delicious indulgences, and a lighter list of to-do’s and to-don’ts. I have savored every second of summer, and part of me hates that autumn is fast approaching. All too soon come the early morning alarms, lunches to pack, heavy project lists in the office, seemingly endless after school activities, and so very much more that seems to snowball so quickly!

The arrival of fall can feel like a fall into chaos!

This year it doesn’t have to! Perhaps it’s time to do a reset so you can thrive going into this new school year?

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Introducing the Reset & Thrive Library:

Comprised of over 40 electronic resources specifically selected to help

individuals and families get organized, create balance and improve their health for fall and a new academic season!

THIS LIBRARY IS AVAILABLE FROM AUGUST 21st THROUGH THE 31st. FOR ONLY $39, INSTANTLY DOWNLOAD THIS E-LIBRARY FILLED WITH DIGITAL RESOURCES AND EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME!!

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But thats not all… 

Not only do the Reset & Thrive e-resources offer VALUE because the ENTIRETY of its contents have NEVER BEEN BUNDLED ANYWHERE BEFORE and epic discount codes SAVE YOU HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS or more off the very best healthy living brands, but with this sale ONLY you will receive: a TWO WEEK MEAL PLAN OFFERED NO WHERE ELSE!

No need to sort through hundreds thousands of recipes from the cookbooks included, we’ve given you two weeks of a get-started paleo meal plan so that you can start without much planning or thought on your own – giving you precious time back to focus on reading the resources and thriving from the onset of this autumnal new year!

The organizers of this Library, the Paleo Parents, have learned from over 5 years of healthy living, what tools people need for success. This bundle is sized just right to not overwhelm. It is broken into separate categories so that you can determine how to prioritize where you want to start.

For the Kitchen: The Cookbooks (a $201 value)

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Fearless Sauerkraut Recipes, Sarah Ramsden

Make it Merry: A Healthy Cookbook, Carla & Emma Papas

7 Steps to Better Grain-Free Baking, Kelly Smith

And Here We Are At the Table, Ariana Mullins

Health Happiness Paleo, Leslie Auman & Chelsea Gold

Paleo Desserts for Dummies, Adriana Harlan

The Healthy Breakfast E-Cookbook, Davida

Real Food Recipes, Kelly Brozyna

Paleo in a Pinch, Sarah Al-Khayyal

Modern Paleo Holiday Cuisine, Alanna Figueira

Family Feast eBook, Cassandra Garcia

Salads without grain, Hayley Ryczek

Paleo to Go, Stacy Toth & Matthew McCarry

For Planning: The Tools & Tips for Balance (a $486 value)

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Holistic Jump Start, Caitlin Weeks

The Gratitude Workbook, Nicole Pittman

Bite Size Paleo, Kelly Bejelly

Full Plate: Nourishing Your Family’s Whole Health in a Busy World, Sarah Kolman

The No Brainer Wardrobe, Hayley Morgan

Clean & Colorful Cooking and September Jumpstart Grid, Ashely Reeves

Simplify, Abby Lawson

Self Care for Self Love, Summer Innanen

Once a Month Meals, Kelly Seaton

The Wild Diet Shopping Guide, Abel James

The Ancestral Blueprint’s Guide to Sleep Troubleshooting for All Ages, Dr. Natcha Maithai

Fall Watercolor Planning Printables, Caroline Potter

Go to Bed, Sarah Ballantyne

For Strategizing: The Health Game-Changers (a $220 value)

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Unprocessed Living, Cindy Santa Ana

Paleo Made Easy, Sylvie McCracken

The Empowered Mother, Cara Comini

The Kitchen Workout, Natalie Wright

Weight Loss Unlocked, Stefani Ruper

The Dietary Cure for Acne, Dr. Loren Cordain

Beauty’s Dirty Secret, Trina Felber

Mind & Body Balancing: A Guide to Counteract Inflammation Through Food & Lifestyle, Kari Owens

Kick Pain in the Kitchen, Barbara Searles

For the Kiddos (a $100 value)

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Little Paleo Big Wins, Jennifer Robins

Baby’s First Foods, Rochelle Serna

Teacher’s Notebook Packet, Carisa Hinson

Kids’ Bundle, Emily Chapelle

MOMables, Laura Fuentes

Want to learn more about any of the titles listed above? Click the links to be taken directly to their page!

This is a great resource and its a great time of year to take advantage of it and get on the right track with creating a healthier life. Start the school year off right by hitting the resent button and developing routines, menus, and traditions that will set your family up for success!  I highly recommend that you take advantage of this deal while it lasts!