Health

An Introduction to dōTERRA Essential Oils

I was first introduced to essential oils in March 2018 at a dōTERRA demonstration. My friend K., a natural party planner, hosted the event at her house. Guests were greeted by lemon-infused water and a rather pleasant scent emanating from the diffuser. An abundance of snacks, such as lavender muffins, soon followed. My friends and I spent the night on K.’s comfy sofa sampling the thoughtfully-prepared assortment and passing around bottles of wine. J., the product consultant, shared her testament with the group; the oils had helped her recover from numerous medical complications.

Twenty days after attending the demonstration, I purchased the family essentials kit along with individual bottles of lemongrass, thyme, cypress, and fractionated coconut oil. I hadn’t planned on making a purchase so soon, but I encountered a minor health hurdle that needed to be addressed. The oils contributed to the resolution of my issue. Initially, I’d spent a generous amount of time deciding which kit to buy, but the one I selected has proven itself quite essential over the years.

You may be wondering if there is a difference between dōTERRA essential oils and less-expensive ones manufactured by other companies. Allow me to clarify; you get what you pay for. dōTERRA essential oils are pure, which is why they are so versatile. I only use a few drops at a time due to their high potency. Although they have an expiration date, you probably won’t have to worry about that for a few years after placing your order. In this post, I’ll discuss my five most-used essential oils, all of which are included in the aforementioned kit, which, by the way, comes with a useful guide detailing all of the brand’s products.

Lemon / As I write this, I’m making a plan to replace my almost-depleted supply of lemon. I enjoy at least one can of chilled sparkling water every day, and I’ve been flavoring my cans of plain water with a drop of lemon essential oil. It’s cheaper than buying an excessive amount of Spindrift (which I still love but can’t afford to drink like champagne at the club).

Peppermint / When a family member gets a headache, I’ll break out the peppermint, dilute a drop with fractionated coconut oil, and rub it on their forehead. The pain dissipates with a tingling sensation. In the olden days of commuting to work, I’d pass out peppermint beadlets to my friends when they weren’t feeling their best.

Lavender / On nights when I can’t sleep, I fill my diffuser with water and add a few drops of lavender. The calming scent puts me to sleep.

DigestZen / This product is a blend of the following essential oils: anise seed, peppermint plant, ginger rhizome/root, caraway seed, coriander seed, tarragon plant, and fennel seed. When my stomach is upset, I diluted a drop or two of DigestZen in a cup of cool water. This concoction is best consumed at a sipping pace.

On Guard / This product is a blend of these essential oils: wild orange peel, clove bud, cinnamon leaf, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus leaf, and rosemary leaf/flower. It smells like autumn in a bottle. I diffuse this in the air during the day. The idea of boosting my immune system with minimal effort makes me very happy.

My Fitbit Alta HR

I bought my Fitbit Alta HR in September 2018. I have to say, our two years together have been quite productive. First and foremost, it helped me get the most out of my gym membership. I joined my current fitness center (now temporarily closed) in July 2017. Prior to wearing my Fitbit, I felt obligated to visit the gym every day and to maximize every workout to its fullest potential. That was too much pressure, so I hardly went at all.

After I started tracking my physical activity, I realized that every step I took improved my overall fitness. I initially set my goal to 10,000 steps (~4.25 miles) a day but raised it to 15,000 (~6.25 miles) one month later. The walks to and from the gym and on the treadmill were opportunities to get more steps. The thrill of meeting my daily goal incentivized me to take walks at every opportunity. Determined to see the victory rocket fly across the screen before midnight, I’d pace in my kitchen or hallway in the evening. (In fact, I’m pacing in my kitchen as I draft this post on my phone.)

My steps serve as the base of my daily physical activity. Unfortunately, I stopped using my Fitbit for about four months whilst getting acclimated to working from home. I’ve since recommitted. Oh, how I’ve missed its benefits: lower resting heart rate, pounds easily lost, and toning in unexpected places. I’ve started back up with a goal of 10,000 but anticipate aiming higher when the time is right.

5 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Health Right Now

Maintaining good health requires constant effort and can be tiring, which is why many people aren’t willing to put in the work. But, a life lived in good health is far more enjoyable than one lived in poor health. I’ve found that five actions in particular contribute to my overall wellbeing: eating well, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, exercising, and making time for myself. In the perfect version of my life, I would complete each of these five items every day. But, in reality, I rarely check all the boxes on my list of healthy actions in a single day.

On occasion, I eat pizza. Sometimes, the day closes and I haven’t consumed an adequate amount of water. Sometimes, I go to bed at a ridiculous hour. Now that the gym is closed (for the sake of social-distancing), I don’t exercise as much as I once did. Sometimes, I am so busy that I go too long without making time for myself. Maintaining good health is an intricate operation, and I’ve been able to maintain it because I make, more often than not, an honest effort within these five categories. All that effort adds up to measurable results.

Eating Well

I have been constantly acquiring new knowledge over the years about what it means to eat well, but it wasn’t until I completed the Whole30 program for the first time that I really knew what this meant. The basic premise of the program is to cut out certain types of foods—grains, added sugar, alcohol, dairy, and legumes—for 30 days to purge impurities from your body. At the end of the program, you are free to add the foods you’ve been abstaining from back into your system (gradually and at your own discretion). The point is to discover which foods are detrimental to your health. I knew that I had a low tolerance for grains, but I wasn’t aware of the damage sugar was wreaking on my body until my Whole30 journey. I also didn’t know that sugar is used unnecessarily as an ingredient in everything—at least in the U.S. Please read your nutrition labels! Even though I make exceptions for special occasions, the principles of the Whole30 program guide my everyday eating habits (no grains, added sugar, alcohol, dairy, or legumes).

While I recommend that everyone try Whole30 at least once, you don’t have to make a drastic commitment in order to jumpstart healthier eating habits. Comb through the Whole30 rules for inspirational bits of information. Shop on the outer perimeter of the supermarket where the refrigerated items are located. Don’t keep anything you know to be unhealthy (examples: soda, chips and sweets) in the house. If you have to buy juice, it should be real fruit juice. Try mixing it with water, and be conscious of how much you are drinking. Better health begins with knowing exactly what you are consuming.

Drinking Enough Water

I drink tap water that has been filtered through a Brita and chilled. Sometimes, I put fruit in it, but I also enjoy it unflavored from the pitcher. I’m also very fond of sparkling water. Perrier, LaCroix, Trader Joe’s, and Spindrift (which counts as my daily dessert) are my go-to brands.

It is easy for me to stay hydrated, not only because I have a variety of water to choose from, but because I own two reliable BPA-free water bottles. I only buy overpriced bottled water in the street if it is an absolute emergency. I’d rather save my money and transport water from home. If I need my water to stay cool for a prolonged period of time and don’t mind carrying the extra weight of the container, I opt for my 25 oz. S’well bottle. It keeps liquids cold or hot for many hours.

When I prefer a lightweight option, I bring my 32 oz. Nalgene bottle. The Nalgene doesn’t have insulation capabilities, so I have a small window of opportunity to consume the water before it reaches room temperature. But, it’s practically weightless when empty. If you are going on a journey where water isn’t readily available, don’t forget to bring it with you. Dehydration is dangerous, but it can be prevented.

The amount of water that one should drink varies from person to person and is influenced by a number of factors, such as weight and physical activity. While it is possible to drink too much, this has never been a personal concern of mine. I suspect that most people have a problem with not drinking enough rather than a problem with overhydrating. I aim for 8 cups of Brita-filtered water a day, but that goal doesn’t include sparkling water or other liquids. Thus, my water intake is actually a bit higher, especially on workout days.

Getting Enough Sleep

I often struggle with going to bed at a decent time. After our daily dinners, I usually rest on the sofa before carrying on with the rest of the evening chores. But, sometimes this ‘break’ extends into hours of the night. This means that I start completing my unfinished work at a time when I should be sleeping. After discussing my plight with my friends, we concluded the following: Don’t sit down; if you sit down, you’re in trouble. Now that I’ve realized that taking a break after dinner leads me down a sleepless path, I try to reserve my downtime until after I’ve gotten ready for bed. You won’t be able to solve the problem of not getting enough sleep unless you’ve uncovered the root of the issue. If you can relate to this problem, I suggest that you strategize (perhaps with friends) for ways in which you can do better.

Exercising

Sometimes, I’m really diligent about exercising, and sometimes, I’m not. I hired a personal trainer a few years ago, and even when I am the least motivated to exercise, she remains a motivational constant in my life. At the moment, we are conducting our training sessions online, which has worked out brilliantly. If you know that you will not exercise unless someone motivates you, perhaps you should hire a trainer. If you aren’t ready to do that, there are plenty of resources available for free on YouTube. While going for a daily walk has its health benefits, it probably won’t get your heart rate up. However, it’s definitely a good place to start.  

Making Time for Yourself

Do you ever feel like you do so much for other people, that you don’t have any energy left to do something nice for yourself? When I feel like this, I don’t feel whole. Fortunately, the solution to this problem is simple for me. I feel recharged when I do something for myself, even something as simple as reading or getting my nails done. Don’t forget to make time for yourself. My dear, you are worth the effort.

Works Sighted

Nalgene bottle; Hobbs Skirt (old); Superga 2790 Acotw (Navy); LL. Bean Boat and Tote