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My Struggle To Quit Smoking with Rachel Pader: Inspired Health Journey

Jonathan Hunsaker: Welcome everyone, to another episode of Inspired Health Journeys. I’m joined by my cohost, TeriAnn Trevenen.

TeriAnn Trevenen: Hey, everyone.

Jonathan: We have a very special guest, Rachel Pader. Rachel, thank you for joining us today.

Rachel Pader: Thanks for having me. I’m glad to be here.

TeriAnn: We are excited to have Rachel here today. Rachel is 33 years old. She is from Wisconsin, where she is currently a home appraiser. I met Rachel through a mastermind that I’m a part of, and she actually reached out to me about Organixx products. And at that time we talked more and I learned more about her story and her health journey which is why she is here with us today.

TeriAnn: Tell us a little bit about your healthy journey and how you came to be where you are right now in your health journey. Go back a few years and tell us what your life looked like as far as your health goes just a few years ago.

Rachel: Sure. A few years ago it was filled with drinking, smoking, eating really bad food, waking up with a hangover, and then drinking more to get rid of the hangover. I used to be a full-time bartender, and as grateful as I am for all the things I learned in that patch of my life, I’m super happy I’ve moved on and not surrounded by that environment any longer.

I started smoking when I was 16 and then I moved to college at 18. That’s when the freedom came. Then you can smoke whenever, no parents, don’t have to hide your pack of cigarettes. Then that just, unfortunately, disraveled into the rest of my life until my early thirties, until I started making some changes.

TeriAnn: How did you feel as far as your health goes when that was all going on? Were you conscious about how it made you feel and how it impacted you, or did you just not think about it? Were you just going through life and going through the motions?

Rachel: It didn’t start impacting me, I would say until 28 or 29. I was just living a really fast-paced life through college, after college. Then as I started approaching my thirties I started to see it in my skin, I started to see it with exercising. It literally got to the point where I would go up one flight of stairs and I couldn’t breathe, I felt suffocated.

TeriAnn: Got it.

Jonathan: Yeah. I can relate a lot. I started smoking when I was 15. I smoked for 20 years. This July will be five years of not smoking. I drank a whole lot.

Rachel: [crosstalk 00:03:43].

Jonathan: Thank you. Yeah, it’s interesting. As former smokers, especially through our twenties, we don’t feel like it’s really affecting us. Whatever, we’ll just smoke. Then all of a sudden it hits or life changes or we grow up and it’s time to make a change. What was the big thing for you, the ah-ha moment; it’s time to make a change?

Rachel: I would say the suffocation. Like I said, I would be going up a flight of stairs and I couldn’t breathe. I was sick of missing things. Let’s just say I had a family dinner and I would be like okay, I can smoke on my way there … because I never smoked in front of my family. I could smoke on my way there. Then two hours, and then maybe I can quick sneak out, and then I can smoke again. That’s just the way I processed every single day. I was over that.

Rachel: Between not being able to breathe and it literally controlling every action and movement in my life, that was it for me.

Jonathan: I think it happens a lot with addiction. Many people that are listening to this, when you’re addicted to food or you’re addicted to other things, they can relate to the constantly needing to plan out the time you’re getting your next fix. I remember as a smoker and I would fly, I wouldn’t take any carryon stuff, so that I could get out of the airport during my layovers, go have a cigarette, run back through security without stuff and get on my next flight. It’s brutal how much that stuff rules our life.

Jonathan: Feeling the suffocation, feeling you can’t breathe, knowing that it’s time to change, what were the first things that you changed? What was the first thing you did?

Rachel: A couple of years back I tried acupuncture. It didn’t work for me. It probably works for many others. It just wasn’t for me. That was the first initial, baby step I took. Then I started to flirt with the idea of quitting. Then I would be like oh my God, that’s so scary, nope, not doing it. Then my mom happened to see an ad on TV for a quit study. It’s through our university here. She just sent me the number and said, “Do what you want with it.” I held onto the number for quite some time. I said, “All right, I’m just going to call.” I called. I got signed up. That was it. That was my leap. I don’t know if you want me to go into the whole process of the quit study, but it’s quite simple.

Rachel: I got into the study. They gave me a medicine that helps you quit smoking. That medicine, it didn’t work for me either. I was on it for a week. I cannot describe to you the feelings that I had. I had the most severe depression. I didn’t even feel like myself. I said to my boyfriend, I was like, “This is it. I can’t do it with medicine. I’m going to do it the natural way and just do it.” That’s just how it went.

Rachel: Fortunately, through this quit study, even though I wasn’t taking their medication, they still offered me support and meetings. I got to talk to a mentor once a week, which was extremely helpful.

TeriAnn: Awesome. Tell me about your emotional… because a lot of people don’t realize the emotional aspect of our lives impacts our health as well. You talked a little bit about when you were smoking it was like I can do this before I get here and this before I get there. That’s the physical side of it and feeling that need to do that. Talk about the emotional side of your health and how you felt. Then before and after you quit smoking, how did you feel emotionally on both side of events?

Rachel: While I was smoking, I attributed that time to me-time. That’s when I would go on my phone and send my emails, send my text messages, talk on the phone. I never associated it with a bad thing until it started really impacting my health. Now when I quit smoking, I literally felt like I lost my best friend and I was mourning my best friend’s death. I still mourn that death, as crazy as that sounds. I still mourn it every day and I still think about that best friend every single day. I’ve moved on from it, but I still miss that friend.

TeriAnn: Yeah, well it’s interesting too because I like that you said that and I think a lot of people look at it that way, with something like smoking, or drug addiction, or alcohol. We all have addictions in one way or another that impact our health and our emotional well-being, whether we want to admit it or not. If each of us sat down and took the time to say, “What is my friend? What is my go-to that I go to, to feel better about things?” We all have it. Breaking out of that is such a hard thing. Whether it’s we numb ourselves out of life by doing X, Y, or Z. It doesn’t even have to be alcohol, or smoking, or drugs. There are other things we use to numb out.

TeriAnn: I think getting really present in your life through your health and your body boils down sometimes to what am I using to make excuses or what am I using to numb out of life so I don’t have to focus on the more important things in life. It’s a struggle for everyone, so I love that you said that, and I think a lot of people can relate to what’s my best friend. Yeah, a lot of people say that’s smoking or drinking. There are other things as well. I think that’s important for people to hear.

Jonathan: That and I’m just going to cut in for a second, because it’s not just drugs and alcohol. It’s food. People use that, food is their best friend or worst friend. It’s like when things are great let’s celebrate with cake. When things are bad let’s mourn with ice cream.

TeriAnn: Yeah.

Jonathan: They do that with television. We turn on the TV to numb out. We find all these things. I think a lot of people … I talk about smoking a lot. I know you talk about smoking, Rachel, because that’s a big addiction for us. There’s so many addictions out there that people are addicted to. It is mourning that best friend. They’re there during the best times, they’re there during the worst times. You have to have that funeral for them, if you want to get rid of that [crosstalk 00:09:54].

TeriAnn: I like having these flashbacks of watching TV at night and eating big bowls of cereal, which I never do anymore. When you were talking about that I was like I miss eating cereal at night, when you were talking about it. I think we all have those weird things that we do, to sit down and be like I need to relax and detox from the day. It’s interesting. At the end of the day, you change your patterns to like now I’m excited at the end of the day but I’m in a different place in my life. Let’s talk about that for you, Rachel. Fast forward to now. You’ve made all these huge changes in your life. How do you feel physically and emotionally right now in your life, because of some of the changes you’ve made? Then we’ll talk a little bit more about the changes.

Rachel: Sure. I would say I feel pretty fantastic right now. I still struggle every day with wanting to just release everything that I’ve worked on and smoke, and maybe go out and have a ton of drinks and just party. I really think about that. Then I just bring myself back and say, “No, I’m in a really good spot right now. My mental health is great. I just cope differently.” If I get in an argument with someone I would always used to go for a cigarette. Now I just breathe, I think about it. Maybe have a conversation with that person and move forward.

Rachel: Overall, my mental health is great. My physical health, I can run stairs you guys all day. It is wonderful. Yeah. I’m pushing hard into fitness. That’s a great aspect of my life. I walk every day. Life is good, it’s really good.

TeriAnn: Awesome.

Jonathan: Rachel, let me ask, did you take on everything at once? Because I talked a lot in previous podcasts and videos, like don’t try to tackle the world at once. When you’re trying to make a change, don’t go out there and quit smoking, quit drinking, start going to the gym, start eating healthy. You take on all these things and your chance of failure is super high. Was the first thing for you, and just share with me, was the first thing just quitting smoking and that was step one and then it led to more things, or did you take on more things all at once, and find a way to make that work for you?

Rachel: My initial goal was to quit smoking, but I attribute smoking and drinking. If smoking is going drinking is going too. Then for me to get through the mornings, when I first quit smoking because that was my hardest part, was having coffee and smoking, I would start walking. I’d wake up, just get my head right, and start walking. Get ready for the day and then get past that really hard morning part for me. Then that just evolved into going to the gym more. I mean honestly, I guess it all happened at once. It was never planned though. It just happened in that manner, and that’s the only way I could succeed, was not smoking, not drinking, working out, cleaning up my diet.

Jonathan: Absolutely. I was thinking about this this morning, just thinking about my transformation, things that happened, what can we share to inspire others. What was really clear for me, for me of course it was quitting smoking and drinking. They were together for me. After doing that, it feels like we take on all these other things, but they happen naturally. Tackle that one big thing and then the other stuff starts happening naturally because you go rid of that one big hurdle, because for me if it was December 31st and it’s like January 1st no drinking, no smoking, I’m going to the gym, I’m going to start eating healthy, and all these other things, your chance of failure is 90 plus percent, I’m sure.

Jonathan: Yeah, it’s just nice to hear you tackled the drinking and smoking. To you it feels like you did everything at once, but really it all just evolves when you get rid of that one big thing.

TeriAnn: Yeah, for sure. You have to win the smaller battles to win the big war. I think that’s pretty common for most people. Let’s talk about your lifestyle of it. Now you’ve touched on it a little bit. You really changed and you’re evolving and you’re learning more about health. Talk a little bit about what your day and your routine looks like now, and some of the biggest changes you’ve made in your life.

Rachel: Okay, so I guess some daily routine, since we’re doing a certain challenge we have to work out in the morning. At least I work out in the morning. Then throughout the day I just drink tons and tons of water. I’m working really hard and I’m bringing in organic foods, nothing that’s modified. I’m going to plant the garden, so I’m really excited about that.

TeriAnn: Awesome.

Rachel: Then I don’t know. The gym in the evenings. I don’t know. It’s all movements. I’m always moving, always going, learning, transforming. It looks so different because now that I have came to a healthier side of life I don’t have time for the things that aren’t healthy.

TeriAnn: Yeah. That makes a ton of sense. I get that 100%. What were some of the biggest ah-ha moments? I know for you, you’ve been studying a lot, reading a lot. What are the top two or three things, as you’ve been studying health more, studying what works for you more, and finding your own journey to health, what have been some of the biggest moments for you, biggest things that you’re like I didn’t know that or this has been a game changer for me?

Rachel: Honestly, I just think and as cliché as this sounds, if you really want to do something you can do it. I look back to see how I even got to where I am. I have no idea. I just took it day by day by day and I slowly just evolved here. I think that was my biggest ah-ha moment. How did I even do this? I don’t know. I knew I had to change one thing in my life, and that one thing changed into five or six things, and it worked out. I know for some people it doesn’t. I don’t know. I guess there’s no easy path. There’s just the path that works for each individual, and you need to find that path.

TeriAnn: Yeah.

Jonathan: The reality is it’s not going to be a smooth, downhill ride when you’re taking on change. You’re going to have issues across the board. What I think happens with a lot of people is when they fall off the wagon, let’s say they fall off the wagon on Tuesday from eating healthy or going to the gym. Then they beat themselves up on Wednesday, they turn to their best friend, whether that’s food or drinking or smoking or whatever that addiction is. Then come Thursday it’s like all right, I’m going to try again on Monday. Then they think all right, the weekend is here and I’m going to get strict on Monday, I better go ahead and gorge and eat all the food or smoke all the cigarettes. I remember before quitting, that night I tried to smoke everything that was in my pack.

Jonathan: It’s the same thing. We do that and then we gorge on the weekend, and then Monday comes around and we go for it, we get it Monday, Tuesday, and then we make it until Thursday and we fall off again. Well, let’s wait until Monday. I think the big takeaway here, if you really want that long-lasting change, is not waiting until Monday. If you fall off the wagon on Tuesday fine. If you eat some ice cream fine. Wake up Wednesday and start back over again. Don’t put it off to another future date to start.

TeriAnn: For sure. I think another important thing is going back to what John said about overcoming the one big thing, like I feel like for you with smoking you’re like everything else is tied to that. I think when you win one really big battle in your health you’re like okay, the rest is doable. I did that. I can do anything else. Then you go through this pattern and this process of like I could take this to the next level, and I can take this to the next level. I think it becomes really powerful when you see that change in yourself. I think that’s something that a lot of people can relate to.

TeriAnn: Let me ask you really quickly, and I’m going to share because I know a little bit of your background, you’ve made this huge shift in the last year and it’s changed your eating habits, and no more smoking, no more drinking. Only occasionally. You’re living a totally different lifestyle. Talk about some of your big wins on the physical side of things, because you’ve overcome all of these things in health. What are you working towards with your body right now that you never thought you would be doing in the past?

Rachel: All right. I have gotten pretty big into weightlifting. I used to only work out with my own body weight and nothing else. Maybe little weights but nothing crazy. My boyfriend, he’s always like, “Come work out with me, come work out with me.” I finally did and I love it. It makes me feel so powerful and so amazing and so strong. In September I am doing my first powerlifting competition. I never thought I would do this ever, but here I am. I’m really scared. I’m really nervous. I don’t even care if I place or if I don’t place. I just want to complete it.

TeriAnn: Yeah, just so you did it. It’s so funny too because you just talked about how it used to be suffocating just to walk up the stairs, and now you’ve gotten to this point with your body. It’s a really big testament to people who are listening to how much you can change your body in just a year, and where you can go from point A to point B and be in a totally different place. The long-term effects. I don’t know if you’ve gone through this thought process of where you were a year ago to where you are now, and how your life is going to look for the next 10, 20, 30 years, because you’ve made these changes. Does that feel powerful to you, to think about where you are now and what your life is going to look like for the next 10, 20, 30 years, the rest of your life, because you’ve made these changes?

Rachel: Absolutely, yeah. Especially too, I’m approaching my one-year anniversary of not smoking in July. During that time from then until now, it was like this. I would gain weight. I would fall into small depressions. There were so many mountains I had to climb. In my future, just a few mountains, I am totally cool with it. Absolutely, yeah. I’m super excited for it. I have this app on my phone where it shows me how much life I have regained back. It’s like 46 dates. That’s incredible. [crosstalk 00:19:58].

Jonathan: What’s the name of the app? Do you remember?

Rachel: It’s called Quit Smoking.

Jonathan: Oh, nice.

TeriAnn: Easy.

Rachel: Yeah, so you just type in the date that you quit and it shows you how much money you’ve saved. It’s wonderful.

TeriAnn: That’s really cool. I love that. Yeah, and that’s really powerful to think every day matters so much, every day counts. You think about how much time you’re getting back. That’s a really powerful concept to think about. Whether it’s smoking, like your story, or another change that someone is making in their health, if there was an app for all the changes we made in health, could you even imagine how many days people got back in their lives from changing their health journey? It’s a really powerful thing to think about.

TeriAnn: Rachel, last thing today. If you had one message you could leave with the world about health from where you’ve been on your journey of health, what would you say to people who are trying to change their life and change their health? What would be your one message to them, your one message, super important message that you could say to the entire world about their health?

Rachel: Do it now. Don’t do it tomorrow. Don’t do it next week. Do it today, have a plan, and completely execute.

TeriAnn: Love it.

Jonathan: It’s never too late to start. We can make excuses all day long. Excuses are easy when you’re addicted to things. Oh, I’ll just slow down. I’ll just cut it down. I won’t eat as much ice cream, I won’t smoke as many cigarettes. It never works. You’ve just got to do it. Do it now, don’t wait another week, don’t wait another month, don’t wait another year. Rachel, it was awesome having you on. Thank you for being vulnerable, thank you for sharing. [crosstalk 00:21:33].

Jonathan: For those of you that are listening at home, watching at home, do you want to share your story with us? Do you have an inspired health journey to tell us about? Send us an email, to [email protected], I N S P I R E D TeriAnn, do you have any last words?

TeriAnn: No. Thank you, Rachel, for being with us today. I appreciate it.

Rachel: Thank you.

Jonathan: Thanks, Rachel. Thanks, everyone.

TeriAnn: Have a great day, everyone.

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Overcoming Hypothyroidism with Caroline Harland: Inspired Health Journey

Jonathan Hunsaker: Welcome everyone to another episode of Inspired Health Journeys. I am your host Jonathan Hunsaker joined by TeriAnn Trevenen.

TeriAnn Trevenen: Hey everyone.

Jonathan: And we have a very special guest, Caroline Harland. Caroline is our Director of HR, and she’s going to share her inspired health journey with us.

Jonathan: Do you want to give us a quick bio?

TeriAnn: Sure.

TeriAnn: So, Caroline is an experienced HR director, previously with Better Health US Airways, also known as American Airlines and Circle K Corporation. She is an accomplished, results-focused business and team leader with an outstanding record of success. She is known for driving strategic enterprise-wide planning and project execution, systems processes, and service delivery. She has led vital HR initiatives including: leader supervisory development; succession planning; performance management; benefits administration; culture change; employer relations; diversity and inclusion; labor relations and compliance.

TeriAnn: She is focused on uplifting employee engagement, effectiveness, and performance. Caroline currently resides in Fountain Hills, Arizona, and is the mother of three children, and her running partner, Howard, the family’s four-legged member.

TeriAnn: She is the daughter of a decorated Air Force Colonel. Her mother, a career family engineer, along with her four siblings, she grew up moving around the world before attending college at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, graduating with a degree in Human Resource Management and Organization Communications. She’s a Certified Professional in Human Resources and a Senior of Certified Human Resources Professional.

TeriAnn: Caroline and her family live a healthy, holistic lifestyle. Her personal values of healthcare, fitness, and nutrition align perfectly with what we believe at Organixx, and we’re excited to talk with her more about her health journey today.

Jonathan: That’s an impressive bio.

Caroline Harland: Thank you.

Jonathan: So thanks for joining us, Caroline.

Jonathan: Just share a little bit about your health journey. What are we going to talk about today?

Caroline: Well, I think my health journey started before I … right after I had kids actually. My mother, she was sick, when I had my first daughter, and she ended up having a liver transplant. So that changed how I dealt with health in my family. My siblings, my sisters especially, the women in my family really rallied around each other to try to figure out how we were going to prevent what happened to my mom, which was liver disease due to pesticide exposure. How to prevent that from happening to us. So we really started to focus on how were we going to limit that exposure in our homes in the things that we ate, in the things that we put in our bodies, and so that’s how it really started.

Caroline: At the same time as that happened to my mom, after I had my first daughter, I suffered from Post Natal Thyroidism, so my thyroid actually went out. Because of that, I had to really learn how to operate with this failing thyroid issue that I had, so I’m losing massive amounts of hair, I’m gaining weight, and I was feeling really not well. Because of that thyroid issue, I really … it triggered me to have to address a lot of what was going on with my own personal health, and it started when my kids were very, very young.

Jonathan: So can you give me just a 30 second idea of how were you living prior to this? Were you living organic? Were you working out? Were you running? What was, even weight, if you’re willing to share? Just kind of share. Give us a little idea of where you were.

Caroline: Absolutely. So prior to having kids let’s say prior to 2004, I would say I wasn’t living an organic lifestyle at all.

Caroline: I ate what I wanted. I drank what I wanted. I used the products that I wanted to use, mostly the ones that were being sold to me through marketing campaigns and media that we all are exposed to everyday. I would say that, I’m almost 5’10”, I was probably. I gained almost 90 pounds with my first daughter, so I was 100 and maybe 90 pounds when I had my daughter. And that was, in part, due to my thyroid going out, but I was not healthy and not in a good way. I felt pretty bad health-wise.

Caroline: Within the first year of my daughter’s birth, I really, I mean, changed. I flipped the world upside-down. Once I started doing research on what I was actually doing to myself nutritionally, as well as exposing myself to the chemicals I was exposing myself to, it became really apparent that I needed to flip my world upside-down and stop what damage I had already created.

Caroline: I started literally in 2004, and it was all in. I did not really do it halfway.

Jonathan: Do you remember the moment that you made that choice?

Caroline: Yeah.

Jonathan: That it’s time to make a change? Was it a gradual thing or did you … what was it like it’s time to just change it all?

Caroline: Well, the food portion changed pretty quickly because I realized how not well I was with food, and I realized that if I didn’t change the nutrition that I was eating that I was not: A) going to be able to drop the baby weight and that I wasn’t going to be able to really start feeling better. So what I ended up doing was I immediately changed a lot of things in my diet like I dropped dairy completely from my diet.

Caroline: For me, personally, it didn’t make me feel well, and so I just to stop eating dairy. I stopped eating red meat. I had done a lot of research on how my blood type reacted to certain kinds of meats and proteins, and so, for me, I definitely changed that.

Caroline: As far the chemicals that I put on my body, I was telling a story recently about this event. My sister and I, I had a newborn, my mom had been sick, and we went for a very rare spa day. And we were having facials done and this technician was like, “You know, there are certain chemicals that are really bad for you to put on your body.”

Caroline: And I’m like, “What?” I had no idea what she was talking about, none. And she ended up going through this list while she’d doing my facial, and I was like, “Oh my goodness.” So I literally went home, printed this list out, and started hunting in my house for these chemicals in my house. I ended up collecting every bottle, tube, every dispenser of these products that I could, and started replacing them with products that didn’t have those chemicals in them. So it was all in.

Caroline: It was definitely, literally, I cleaned house. So that’s pretty much when it started. It was all pretty much in the summer of 2005 that it all began. 14 years ago I guess.

TeriAnn: So apart from the things inside of your house, what were some of the other big changes that you made, once you realized that? What came next for you?

Caroline: I really started to … I had to adjust my thyroid issue. I really did a lot of things to try to control what was happening to my thyroid and trying different medications. The first route I took was really allopathic medications. I did the synthetic versions of thyroid replacement, and my body didn’t really like that as much, so I ended up going to a more natural version of that same medication to try and help control my thyroid. I tried to get off of my thyroid meds about in 2010 or so. I wasn’t equipped to do that, so my hypothyroidism came right back.

Caroline: Fast forward to now, we have an amazing iodine product that I’ve been using, and I’m really discovering that I can really start to taper back on that actual prescription medication, so I’m super excited about that. Allowing my body to just use that supplement to bring itself back around, but there were times when you are under a particularly large amount of stress, and there’s that kind of cyclical for all of us, but I could see where my thyroid would just immediately react. I would lose clumps of hair, like literally clumps of hair would come out. I would have just no hair in certain spots. I could tell that something was wrong and I needed to regulate again.

Caroline: So there were times like back in 2013 where I would say that was the new crisis at that point. So you just, kind of, you have to listen to your body. Really [inaudible 00:18:39]. Know where your weights at. Understand how you’re feeling, and then react to it. That would be my biggest lesson in all of that is just reacting to what I was experiencing physically, emotionally.

Jonathan: I can’t even imagine. Yeah. Imagine what you were going through.

Jonathan: It sounds like it’s been a journey. It’s not just a change everything in 2005, and it’s all fixed, right? It’s a constant playing with things, trying different things out, finding what works.

Jonathan: What are the three health tips that you’d like to share with the listeners to inspire them, and inspire them to be able to create change in their life?

Caroline: I think the first thing would be to make sure that you know what you’re eating, what nutrition you’re eating and taking great supplements. I think supplements have a really important place in our life, and I think that, used wisely and used with understanding what you’re doing, and having support to take them wisely, is really smart. So trying to get rid of some of the junk that you eat. Not all of it, we all need balance, and we need balance in every way.

Caroline: I have three kids. They wouldn’t tolerate me feeding them holistically every single minute, so I have to be realistic. But then I also supplement them, and give them a headstart, and give them that opportunity. So that would be the first thing.

Caroline: The second thing is: is really what I kind of referred to before is what are we exposing ourselves to? What are we putting on our body? Including how much sun exposure are we getting? I used to, you know, back in 70’s and 80’s I would lay out with baby oil on. We know so much more about that sun exposure and what that can do, and then also the products that we put. Just really giving ourselves an opportunity to be healthy by what we’re putting on ourselves. I think that’s the second biggest thing.

Caroline: And then the third biggest thing is: listening, like I said, listening to how you feel. How you feel is going to tell you whether you’re in a healthy place or whether you’re having a problem. Simple things like if your hair is weird or if your skin is itchy, or just strange things. Your mouth could be super dry or something going on that you really just have to recognize that there’s something happening there, and it’s happening for trying to tell you something. Then allowing yourself an opportunity to react to that. That would be my … those would be my biggest things.

TeriAnn: So Caroline, tell us, and those are all great tips of sure, tell us what a day in your life looks like now because you’ve been on this journey of health. What are your typical daily things that you think contribute to your overall health and living a healthy life full-time?

Caroline: I live a really busy life. I’m a single mom with three kids, and I work full-time. All my kids have their stuff, their sports and whatnot.

Caroline: The first thing I do in the morning is, I’m a morning person personally and some people are evening people so that you can flip this, but because I’m a morning person, I get up and I really try to take care of me first. So I steal time from everybody else in the morning and give it to myself. Whether it’s if I go for a run, or I might go work out. So depending on what my day sizes up, I will take that time for me because not only does it keep me physically fit, but it helps me keep my head calm. So I do that for myself in the morning.

Caroline: Once I start pulling my kids awake and getting everybody ready, then I’ll take my, I’ll make my smoothie with my bone broth, and I’ll take my greens, and I’ll take my supplements in the morning. I really just give myself that really good, you know, it’s a great place to leap off my day. I get myself really all settled and stable, and I know that I have all this good stuff in my system, and I’m ready to go because the rest of the day from nine o’clock literally five or six is kind of crazy. And sometimes you have to eat on the run, so the rest of my day I prepared to really take that on. Once I’m kind of doing things with the kids in the evenings and they have sports and swim and dance and all their stuff, I will try to grab a healthy snack or a juice or something for myself. In the evening, all the while by the way I’ll drink a lot of water, I will try to end my evening as early as possible so that I can get really good rest because that another big thing is if you’re overtired, you’re just going to fall.

Caroline: No matter how healthy you are. No matter how much supplements you take. If you’re overtired all the time, it’s going to be a really big struggle to stay ahead of that. That’s a day in my life.

Jonathan: I love what you said in the very beginning is that the first thing you do is take care of you. I think that’s something that gets missed so much. I mean, when you explained your day, it sounds probably like most people’s days. Once the day gets started you go off to work, it’s craziness. All day, it’s crazy at lunch when work ends, and kids get out of school, and now it’s time for gymnastics or dance or swim or whatever the sports are. Before you know it, it’s eight o’clock at night and you’re exhausted and when was the time for you?

Jonathan: I’ve talked about this a lot inside of our company in our company culture and all of that. If you don’t give to yourself first, you can’t take care of anybody else, and so I love that was your first, just the first thing that you do every single morning.

Caroline: Yeah. And like I said at the beginning, some people are not that person. They don’t like to get up early. So when you flip that, it looks like they’re giving themselves that to look forward to. It’s the end of their day and it’s their time and they’re just feeling really fantastic that they have that to look forward to. And that’s equally as powerful as long as you take that time for yourself. And as long as you’re making it a priority. I think that’s huge.

TeriAnn: Yeah. Absolutely.

TeriAnn: So one other question for you that I have is: I talk with you a lot about health and what that looks like and what that looks like for you. What is your typical protocol now if someone in your house is sick or, you know, or there’s something going on as far as health, an issue with health? What’s your first few steps in the process? What was it before versus what is it now?

Caroline: What is was before, and this is another piece of how this all started, I would probably have tried to assess what was going on and, you know, depending on what was going on I would have probably medicated. Whether if it’s a headache or fever, I would have given them Tylenol or Motrin of sorts. If was a stomachache, I might have would have tried some sort of tummy remedy for them more over-the-counter type medication, and if it was escalated, I would take them to the doctor. That was it. It was very regimented that’s how I would do it.

Caroline: Now, it is so completely different. What I try to do now, I really try to assess what are the symptoms of who has what? And kind of what’s going on? What have they been exposed to? I really do treat my kids way more naturally than a lot of folks. Depending on if it’s viral, I will try to give them a lot of fluids and I will try to allow them to let their systems work through that on their own. I will give them homeopathy, which is a more holistic approach to how you want to treat, it’s remedies for how you want to treat certain ailments that anybody might have. So I do do a lot of that in the house with the kids. I use a lot of natural things like Epsom salts or salt therapies, or vaporizers, or I use a lot of aromatherapy in the house. I will go full-on natural approach before I take them to the doctor, and if I do take them to the doctor, it’s because I feel like they’re really sick, or I’m tapped on my ability to take care of them.

Caroline: My go-to doctor is a naturopath. I go there first. And he has referred me to an allopathic, a regular M.D., many, many times he’s done that. I heed his advice, but I will do everything that I can do first to allow them to have their systems recover. My kids haven’t had the flu in probably seven or eight years, and they just have robust immune systems because we give them more opportunity to really heal up from within, I think.

Jonathan: And that’s what makes our immune system stronger, right, is getting an elevated temperature so that we can beat out the virus, so we can do things. I think a lot of times we are very quick to just hurry and shove the Tylenol and the Motrin, and my girls are younger than your kids, but it’s that same fight.

Jonathan: If their temperature get too high, absolutely, they’re going to get some Tylenol or some Motrin, but if it’s a little bit warm, if they’re 100 degrees, let their body fight it. This is what makes their immune system strong. Never let anything get into the risky place, but definitely encourage them with healthier foods and more nutrients and different things like that to just let their body fight it. Because the more we can let their body fight it naturally, the stronger they’ll be moving forward to the next that they get it the next time. It’s just how we build a super robust immune system.

TeriAnn: I think it’s an important part of your story because I think we talked a lot in the past about there’s a place for modern medicine, but there’s a place for natural medicine in our bodies being in tune with what they need and being able to naturally heal. Our bodies are amazing, and we don’t realize and recognize that enough, so I love that part of your story, and it’s why I wanted to ask.

TeriAnn: The last question we have today is if you could leave only one message with the world when it comes to your own Inspired Health Journey what would that be?

Caroline: I think that anybody can live a healthy lifestyle, no matter what your lifestyle is.

Caroline: It’s not going to look the same for every person, but it can look healthy for every person. It doesn’t take much. Small little things can make such a huge difference. If you were just to eliminate all sodas from your life and replace it water, you would quadruple the way you would feel just right out of the gate.

Caroline: I would say find what your healthy is, and what does it feel comfortable for you. And if it feels comfortable, stay with it. Don’t drop it because it’s not convenient. It is a little inconvenient sometimes. It can be a little inconvenient, but so well worth it because it’s going to save you ten-fold in the long run. I would just say find what your healthy is and do that.

Caroline: You don’t have to compare yourself against anybody. You have to compare yourself against how you feel, and as long as you’re feeling better, or you’re feeling healthy, then you’re on the right track absolutely. Then you add as you go. It’s like seasoning, right? You just add little bits as you go, and then you start to really get that full flavor of what it can look like for you.

TeriAnn: I love that.

TeriAnn: It’s good imagery too in the way that you explained that for sure.

Jonathan: I think it’s the right advice. I think that often times people feel like everything needs to change at once or, “This is the one way I’ve got to do it, and I’m trying to do it, and I’m fighting to make it work, and I’m fighting to make it work, and I don’t feel good, but everybody else is doing is this one thing, and they’re feeling good, so there’s something wrong with me.” It’s just not the case. The way that you said it, and I know that I’ll probably butcher it, but everybody’s health looks different, but everybody can be healthy. That’s what I love about that statement, and I love the seasoning. Its try little stuff out. Again, we live in a world of quick fix. We live in a world of instant gratification. Everybody wants it now. Everybody wants to lose 30 pounds over the weekend. Everybody wants to just be healthy right away, and consider how long it took you get unhealthy. It’s going to take time to get back healthy and to find what works.

TeriAnn: We talked with someone yesterday about their natural health journey, and how over time things change for us too. Our bodies are constantly changing. They change with the seasons. They change with age, and so that seasoning of your body like you explained is going to change over time too. A lot of people look at their health like, “Oh I have to deal with this again.”

TeriAnn: But really I think people need to change their mindset to look at it as a gift to be able to understand their body and put the pieces of the puzzle together, figure out what seasoning we need for this time in our life, and it will-

Caroline: So true.

TeriAnn: … it’s an art form. I say that many times, and we need to figure out what that art form looks like for us and figure it out for our own body. I think that’s a beautiful gift that we need to embrace.

Caroline: Agreed. As I get older and I move into another phase, I can feel myself as it goes through that, and it is 100% true. I’m going to have to really address that again, and I can feel that coming, and I can feel myself needing … I mean, I didn’t wear glasses until literally four months ago. The muscles in my eyes just aren’t keeping up, so it’s constant that we’re constantly having to adjust and tweak depending on where we are. It’s just a process.

TeriAnn: We just need to embrace it. I think it’s a beautiful journey.

Jonathan: Excellent Caroline. Thank you so much-

Caroline: You’re welcome.

Jonathan: … for spending this time with us. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for being vulnerable. It’s not always easy, but it’s definitely inspiring, and this is what we wanted to do here with the Inspired Health Journey, so thank you for being one of our very first ones to participate.

Caroline: My pleasure.

Jonathan: For those of you watching this on YouTube if you want to see more of our Inspired Health Journeys go to Click on the link at the top. It will say Inspired Living. There’ll be a dropdown menu where you can click on Inspired Health Journeys. You can also see all of our recipes there. You can see tons of articles with our 8 Pillars of Health; all kinds of wonderful, free information to help you on your journey to getting healthy.

Jonathan: So TeriAnn, thank you for joining us.

TeriAnn: Thank you.

Jonathan: Caroline, thank you once again.

TeriAnn: Thanks Caroline.

Caroline: Thank you.

Jonathan: Thanks everybody for listening.

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2 Festive Pomegranate Drinks for the Holidays

#1. Magnificent Mulled Pomegranate Juice



  1. In a large saucepan, add the pomegranate juice, then the cinnamon, cloves, rosemary sprig, and orange slices. Bring to a simmer then turn off heat, cover, and let the mixture sit and infuse for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Reheat just until hot if you wish to serve beverage hot. Strain off “chunky” bits by pouring through a strainer into a serving pitcher.
  3. Add one drop of Organixx lemon or orange essential oil and stir to combine.

#2. Ginger Pomegranate Mocktail



  1. In a large 8-cup glass pitcher, add a tray of ice cubes, then add the two juices and the ginger beer and thinly sliced fresh ginger root. Stir together.
  2. Pour into glasses, squeeze in a little lime juice, and garnish with mint leaves and fresh pomegranate seeds.


Recipe #1: Magnificent Mulled Pomegranate Juice – Serves 4.

Per Serving:

Calories: 170.2 | Total Fat: 0.1 g | Total Carbohydrate: 42.7 g | Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g | Protein: 1.7 g

Recipe #2: Ginger Pomegranate Mocktail – Serves 8.

Per Serving:

Calories: 103.5 | Total Fat: 0.1 g | Total Carbohydrate: 25.7 g | Dietary Fiber: 0.4 g | Protein: 0.4 g

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The Amazing Benefits of Aloe Vera: From Antiquity to Today

The succulent perennial Aloe vera, of the Aloaceae family, has a tremendously long history as a healing plant and there is an extensive list of recorded benefits of Aloe vera. There is also a growing body of research into aloe’s modern day potential health benefits.

Indigenous to Eastern and Southern Africa, records of Aloe vera’s use date back as far as 1750 BC. Ayurvedic medicine (Ayurveda is the ancient healing system of India) has long revered aloe, and there is rumor that Cleopatra’s soft skin was due to aloe.

Aloe is also reputed to be the reason Alexander the Great sought to conquer Madagascar – he wanted to acquire the abundant Aloe vera plants for treating the wounds of his soldiers. Even the ancient Greeks are on record as using this healing plant [1]. According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Aloe vera has also been used for hundreds of years in China, Mexico, and Japan [2].

Nowadays Aloe vera grows around the world, usually in hotter climates, such as the Caribbean, some Southern states, as well as Central and South America. You may know aloe as a common house plant, or even keep one on hand yourself for minor burns and other skin irritations. Indeed it is for this purpose that Aloe vera is most well-known in the Western world.

Aloe Vera for Burns

Aloe vera’s strong reputation in the West as a burn remedy began in the mid 1930s when a woman undergoing x-ray treatments developed severe dermatitis that would not go away. Aloe healed this chronic condition, which instigated informal trials on patients with radiation burns.

Then in 1953, a study on rats by Lushbaugh and Hale noted results that were supported by science, rather than mainly anecdotal observations [3].

More recently in a review of four studies, when compared to conventional treatments, Aloe vera was noted to reduce the healing time of topical burn by approximately nine days [4].
Aloe Vera's Benefits

Aloe Vera Benefits: Much More than Just a Home Remedy for Burns

If you’ve personally ever applied aloe to a sunburn, you know the cool relief it offers. However, Aloe vera has far more health-supporting benefits than merely being the go-to remedy for small burns and sunburn relief.

As one 2013 study published in the journal Organic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters put it, “Due to its phytochemical composition,” aloe has shown promise in “alleviating symptoms associated with/or prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, neurodegeneration, and diabetes [5].”

According to, one of the most important phytochemicals (plant chemicals) found in Aloe vera is the polysaccharide acemannan (also known as acetylated mannose). The 2013 journal article mentioned above states that acemannan has been found to be:

“a highly effective immune stimulant, with activity against the viruses causing the flu, measles, and early stages of AIDS. It has been used effectively against some veterinary cancers, most notably sarcoma, and is being investigated as an agent to be used to treat cancer in humans [6].”

What’s in Aloe Vera Gel?

Whether you’ve favored the store-bought preparations, or cracked open a chunk of home-grown Aloe vera and scooped out the slightly sticky gel yourself, it is the slimy inner tissue that works its magic on the skin and body. This water-heavy gel is the part of the plant that holds the most bioactive compounds (phytochemicals).

According to researchers, the powerful active compounds in Aloe vera include [7,8]:

The Benefits of Aloe Vera for Digestion & Skin

With the volume of bioactive compounds and properties available in Aloe vera, it should come as no surprise that studies into this gift of nature demonstrate this medicinal plant has other benefits to health. In fact there is a plethora of research to be found in PubMed, with close to 3,500 studies being listed that include investigation into Aloe vera [9].

Some other benefits of Aloe vera of note include:


Apart from burns, Aloe vera may be most famous as a digestive aid. This is mainly due to the latex (the yellow liquid just below the skin that surrounds the gel). It’s a known laxative that was used for many years in the United States [10].

Due to its potency and concerns over toxicity it was banned from over-the-counter use in 2002 [11]. However, the FDA does state the following about Aloe vera toxicity in a March 2016 briefing document for the Pharmacy Compounding Advisory Committee (PCAC).

“Reports of previous human experience as a food, dietary supplement, and herbal medicine in the U.S. and other parts of the world, with data reported online in the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database and other sources (e.g., USP, WHO monographs, PubMed), suggests that Aloe vera products are generally well tolerated. Moderate and infrequent oral consumption of Aloe vera gel preparations (containing no anthraquinone derivatives) as food/beverages appears reasonably safe based on the marketed use of various products [12].”

In large amounts the anthraquinones in aloe do have a powerful purgative effect. (Purgative refers to a substance that loosens stools and increases bowel movements). According to research published in the Internet Journal of Microbiology, in smaller amounts anthraquinones aid the microbiome by increasing absorption, and acting as potent antimicrobials (killing less desirable bacteria) [13]. In addition, aloe has been noted to improve the bioavailability of vitamins in humans [14].

There is some controversy surrounding the benefits of aloe for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), with some claiming there is no definitive evidence. However, one 2013 study found that 33 patients consuming aloe twice daily had decreased discomfort [15]. It’s important to note, however, that this study found no notable difference in urgency or consistency.

There is also evidence from a 2014 animal study that ingesting aloe may assist with digestive issues involving imbalanced levels of stomach acid [16].


Aloe vera doesn’t just help your skin with burns; topical application has been found to offer some skin protection by absorbing ultraviolet light, reducing both melanin formation and hyper-pigmentation [17].

According to 2013 research published in the journal Phytotherapy Research there is also evidence that the baby shoots of Aloe vera support healthy skin by offering protection from the aging effects of sunlight [18]. A compound known as lignin in aloe assists aloe with its skin-nourishing abilities by aiding the penetration of active compounds [19].

Aloe vera has also been reported to have potent antibiotic, antivirus, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory effects on the skin, including the ability to help rid wounds of necrotic (dead) tissue [20-23].

Other studies have demonstrated that aloe may aid in maintaining younger looking skin by helping to increase collagen production and improve collagen elasticity, as well as reduce redness of the skin [24,25].

Tips for Using & Consuming Aloe Vera

When using aloe at home for skin applications, don’t simply squeeze out the gel from a cut leaf. This will also give you the yellow latex, which can cause irritation. Instead, scoop out the gel, leaving behind the lower layer between the skin and inner gel.

The main problem with consuming aloe is the bitter taste of the yellow latex. For this reason many people like to use it in a smoothie with other ingredients. Another important consideration is that it’s generally way too strong to eat large quantities due to its laxative properties. Separating the gel from the latex and the prickly skin is no easy feat, either. This is likely why many consumers resort to either a liquid form – either the juice or an extract in supplement form.

In the case of aloe juice, it’s important to remember the juice is likely to contain only the gel, mixed with a great deal of water, and thus will not provide several of the active compounds that are present in the green of the outer leaf.

In order to get all the health-supporting benefits of this amazing plant, look for an extract of superior quality, that is harvested and processed responsibly, from a manufacturer you trust.

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