If you read part 1, you know that sugar and poor dietary choices can make a significant impact on hormones, which can then directly effect immunity, mood, body weight, bloating, headaches, pain, etc. My dietary changes were ultimately the first part of my journey to living a cleaner lifestyle. Like I mentioned, I promise I am not perfect. But the changes have ultimately led to me feeling BETTER and being able to help my family make those changes as well.
About 5 years ago, my friend and teammate Suzy Allen told me about essential oils. At the time, I thought they were cool, mostly for diffusing. They sparked my interest, but I really did not make any changes to my household, or even continue purchasing the oils. Fast forward 3 years, I decided it was time to get off of birth control (I'll get back to how that ties with the oils). I had been on it for 10 years due to cyclical pain that I had in my right ovary and right low back. The pain began when I was in high school and I would have it 15-20 days out of my 30 day cycles. It was debilitating. I would take the max allowed ibuprofen to get by. The pill helped, but I wanted my natural cycles to take place, especially before Zach and I began trying for kids.
After getting off of "the pill", I had 3 completely normal cycles. And then around September of 2018, the pain began again. I was under the stress of starting my first job after college and managing my schedule, working out, and eating pretty well. I didn't limit my sugar too much, but I was conscious of it. The pain was horrible. I had to go back to the ibuprofen, but I tried not to do it too often. The only thing I had not changed at that point was my household cleaning and personal items, including: lotions (bath and body works), hairspray, shampoo, body wash, make up, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, hand soaps... the list could go on.
I read multiple articles and kept hearing talk about FRAGRANCE, parabens, pthalates, sulfates, sodium laurel sulfate, and all of the harsh chemicals in cleaning supplies. I listened to podcasts from Wellness Mama and heard talk in the pelvic floor therapy world about how our hormones can directly effect pelvic pain. I read how plastics have an estrogen component (BPA free or not) and significantly contribute to up-regulation of inflammation in the body.
This is important, because if we have a shift of estrogen or progesterone (too little or too much), it can cause endometrial tissue implantation, mood swings, ovarian cysts, painful periods, headaches, fatigue, and contribute to worsened PCOS symptoms.
Pelvic Pain + Hormone Influence
A little side note about pelvic pain- I recently listened to Dr. Jessica Drummond on the Birth Healing Summit. She is a doctor of clinical nutrition and physical therapist. She has done significant research on endometriosis and developed recovery plans to help women with endometriosis. She confirmed EVERYTHING I have been reading in the last year- plastics (use of water bottles), cleaning supplies, the products we use all contribute to hormonal imbalance, especially in the hypothalamic-pituitary (hormone regulating) axis. What she has found in her over 10 years of practice with pelvic pain is that nutrition and these hormone altering products have an overwhelming correlation to pelvic pain and endometriosis. Endometriosis is when endometrial cells implant outside of the uterus, which causes pain. Some people have pain and some do not, which is the weird part about it. Some don't find out they have it until they are dealing with infertility.
What she found, is that most women that commit to changing those household items, diet, gut health and daily habits (stressful lifestyle etc.) can decrease their pain significantly through eliminating those things that contributed to stress on the immune system. She also has a book that I am currently reading called Outsmart Endometriosis, which should be out for print this summer. She also discusses multiple scenarios in which women were able to become pregnant after making these lifestyle changes. See resources below for details. If you deal with pelvic pain, I would highly recommend this book, regardless of endometriosis being the cause or not.
Back to my part of the story. The same friend, Suzy, that introduced me to essential oils made her own radical life changes over the last 5 years; living free of chemicals in the home and in her diet- essentially striving to eat whole vs processed foods. It was evident that it had a positive effect on her mood, health, and for her specifically her acne (see pics below- she gave me permission to share!). I thought I should look into it and see if it could help me out too.
Pregnancy Influences Change
About a year ago, we found out we were pregnant with our first child. It was then that I decided that I was going to throw away all of the chemicals. It is funny what I would do for my unborn child's health but wouldn't do for my own prior to that!! But for me, that was the drive I needed to do it. So, I replaced my shampoos, soaps, and household cleaning items with the "cleaner" versions. I began using Thieves (Young Living) cleaner (I bought last year, still have not ran out), and vinegar and baking soda for essentially all of my household cleaning. I stopped buying candles (that was hard, but now they are almost too strong for my smell anyways!). I choose sulfate free shampoo and used the "Think Dirty" app where able to make sure there weren't harsh chemicals that could alter my hormones.
I had no pain during pregnancy. I felt better than I felt ever before while I was not pregnant. My bowels moved consistently, I stopped having acne, and felt great overall. Now 4 months postpartum, I still feel great, even with the shift and changes of hormones. The worst I have felt postpartum was when I was eating poorly. As for the changes to my lifestyle, I personally have made the decision to consistently use Young Living for essential oils because I know I am getting a product that helps me live clean, that is my ultimate goal.
Zach and I broke down our budget and discussed things that are a 1-10 priority for us, and for me, having a clean home is a "10" for importance and I am so thankful he supports that. We also began doing the Dave Ramsey budgeting program which has radically altered how we spend money, which ultimately empowered me to be able to purchase my oily needs monthly, but that is a whole other story!
God's Simple Design
What is so interesting about all of this- food down to cleaning supplies- is that God designed things to be simple. Humans; we have made things a bit more complicated. But if you take things back to nature, whether that be getting healthy sunlight (vitamin D) or harvesting our food directly from nature, our hormones will regulate. We have balance; homeostasis. Things align. Our beautiful earth that He created has purpose in its roots. I was texting Suzy Q this morning and she said "Things were not meant to be so complicated. It is freeing to remember that!".
If you are interested in how making changes in your home can help you, please reach out to me! I would love to walk with you on this journey. Let's be honest... If you don't care for yourself and your body, then it is really hard to do your job and care for others around you. Taking care of yourself can ultimately lead to you being able to fully serve others. As for the supplies, if it has an ingredient you can't pronounce, it may be worth looking into. Take charge of your body and your health. No one can make those changes except for you!
Next up on my journey to clean living:
1. Home-brewed kombucha
2. Upgrade water filtration system
3. Milling my own bread
One thing at a time!
Want a chemical free home? Get started with Young Living!
EWG RATINGS --> You can use this website to look up any item to view the ingredients and how it can be harmful to your body.
This is very helpful. I have found that since ThinkDirty has been bought out it is no longer a completely reliable source.
Some of the product links on this blog contain affiliate links to products. If you click on the link or purchase an item, I may receive compensation, however there is no additional cost to you to purchase. I only promote items that I firmly believe in. I am also under no obligation to write product reviews on my blog, however I do so because I would like to share products that I enjoy!
This content is created in order for individuals to learn more about the pelvic floor. I am in no way giving medical advice or medically assessing the pelvic floor through this blog. If you ever have any health questions or concerns, please consult with your physician or midwife. If you are ever unsure if you are performing exercises correctly, it may be beneficial for you to get a referral from your physician to a pelvic floor therapist for further evaluation. My blog posts are for educational purposes only!I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.