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27 Life Lessons Before My 27th Birthday

I left home at 17 years old, moved 4200 miles away from everyone that I knew, by myself. 

Then at 19, I moved to Los Angeles for two semesters of college. That’s also where I worked the most challenging, yet rewarding, job of my life (at a retirement home), but felt entirely alone despite living in a HUGE city.

The next year, back in Hawaii, I graduated college and simultaneously began my career as well as bought myself my first *new* car – all at the age of 20.

Later that year, I suffered an immensely difficult trauma. Though in the healing process, I then traveled around the globe as an outreach volunteer and missionary.

Now as you can tell, the plot summary of the beginning of my adult biography is quite a rollercoaster.

Amongst these (as well as others not mentioned) landmark events, up’s, down’s, and busy life doings, I also maintained a close, as well as wide, social life as well!

So by the time that I was in a serious relationship (with the right man), I didn’t even realize that I was really JUST beginning my “20’s” era.

Within a short time, I got married to that (right) man, and a few months later, year 22 had just begun. Still, I already felt like I had a generous amount of life/worldly experiences under my belt and scribbled about within my journals.  The same journals in which I replaced with each *new age* and stored away the past years of reflections and lessons.

But now, five years and two babies later, another birthday is here; and with each completed orbit around the sun, I find myself (since becoming a mother) asking this specific question,

“If I were sitting down with my kids as adults or teenagers, what would I have to share with them about *this* specific age?”

The answers are usually transcribed in those personal journals, but something compelled me to share this year’s with you…

Maybe it’s the fact that today, 7/7/2017,  is my 27th birthday?

Whatever it may be, here are 27 life lessons that I have learned through experiences thus far by age *27*:

 

1- Figure out what geographical location feels “home” to you.

It’s one of the first questions asked when you meet someone, right? Well, that’s because, it’s important! Having a sense of home allows for a more peaceful life, better sense of identity, and overall well-being.

2- Learn how to be approachable.

Being friendly, open, and warm doesn’t mean that you are weak.  It means that you are helpful, that you have a purpose other than only yourself. So be approachable: stand/sit with good posture, make eye contact, listen, smile. After all, “you get more bees with honey!”

3- Hold firm to your personal beliefs, but also be tolerant and humble towards those with differing views.

Even if you don’t agree with someone, you can still learn from an opposing viewpoint. Be level-headed, as this too, creates a more peaceful life.

4- Sometimes longtime friendships dwindle.

Not every friend is going to make it to each chapter in your life, and that’s okay! Don’t dwell on the space that grows inside even the oldest of friendships, it means that you’ve grown! Instead, be thankful for a rich memory bank.

5- If you wish to DO GOOD, then surround yourself with only GOOD people.

This is quite simple, having positive influences makes for less time fighting things you morally don’t agree with.

6- Be observant of other people’s energy.

I am so mindful of this, that I don’t willingly put myself in situations among people with negative energy. But if I do ever find myself in such a spot, I almost always will excuse myself.  Energy is contagious, and who really wants to feel negative vibes? 

7- You really CAN be whatever you want to be in life. 

And if, what you want to be, doesn’t technically “exist”, CREATE IT!

8- Your health is your most valuable asset in life.

Without it, you can’t live life to the fullest.  Take care of yourself, so you don’t have to miss out on this one chance to thrive on Earth.

9- Genuine love is a choice, not just a feeling.

If it is indeed love, then it is a commitment from all parties, to support and raise each other up.

10- Don’t take anything for granted, not even the most insipid day.

If you take a moment to think about it, life really is fleeting, so choose to be grateful (time is much sweeter this way!)

11- Never stop seeking knowledge, never stop learning – (Teach yourself a new skill at least once a year).

Growth is not only a necessity to be successful, but also imperative for a FUN-FILLED life! “…learn as if you were to live forever.” -Gandhi

12- Stay current in world events.  

If you can’t stomach watching/reading the “news”, then at least read scientific research or something of the sorts.  Seeing growth in your external world allows for growth within yourself. Plus, the only constant in life, is change.

13- Don’t judge others because they sin differently than you do. 

      Have a strong foundation in your faith, but don’t suffocate others by forcing them to follow your personal ideals. Instead, simply surround yourself with those who don’t make your personal practice a struggle. 

14- Get enough sleep!

Sleep allows for your body to heal and repair, plus – what can a long, restful sleep, not heal?!

15- Don’t waste your time in relationships that are one-sided.

Whoever acts as if they don’t need you, YOU DON’T NEED IN YOUR LIFE.

16- Don’t just “respect your elders”, but respect all.

Treat others the way you wish to be treated. For real. Be courteous, polite, and kind – exercise your good character!

17- Smile at strangers.

You never know just how large of an impact that you can make on someone else’s day, OR LIFE, by offering something as simple, free, and effortless as a smile.

18- Focus on finding yourself, BEFORE focusing on finding a life partner.

In order to know what kind of person you want/need as a life partner, you HAVE to know YOURSELF FIRST!

19- Time means nothing in loyalty.

Just because you may have known someone for a great amount of time, doesn’t mean that they don’t have the capacity to do you wrong. Guard your heart (within balance of course).

20- Protect yourself legally.

ALWAYS think of the legal ramifications of the dealings that you are involved with/in. If others around you are doing something wrong – you are JUST as guilty if you don’t remove yourself and/or stop whatever is happening!

21- Know your worth.

Demand and only allow yourself to be treated the way in which you believe you deserve (with the utmost respect, duh).  ALSO, in the professional aspect, find the courage to request the pay you are worth, as well as for raises in pay when needed and/or deserved!

22- Retain history.

Not just out of respect for those who came before you and that made your daily luxuries an option, but also because it is your responsibility to the world!  “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

23- Abuse is NEVER acceptable.

There are things that you DO NOT tolerate just because you “love” someone.  You deserve complete respect and should offer the same… anything less is never justifiable. Also, “abuse” is not only a physical trauma, but can be inflicted by words as well.

24- Realize what *unconditional* love is. 

This is something you possess for your CHILDREN. (i.e. your child throws a rock at you.. you then teach them right from wrong, but you still love them with an insurmountable love. In relationships, however, there ARE conditions. If a partner throws a rock at you – prob a sign it should be over, ya?)

25- Never try to change someone that you’re in a relationship with.

Love yourself enough to choose to be with someone that NATURALLY brings out the best in you and inspires you to be an even better human being (+ vice-versa).  But never try to change someone in to a character that they are not – life is too short, and that is not love. If change is truly necessary, it should occur in time on its’ own.

26- Never apologize for what makes you unique.

       There is no one else just like you. And that makes you so special. Never allow someone else’s envy or other motives to create an insecurity in your uniqueness. Be proud (but still humble) of who you are!

27- Love yourself.

       Always. No matter what. Show yourself love, compassion, and room to be humanly-flawed.



As always, thanks for reading!

x. Heather

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The Joy and Sadness of Celebrating my Last Baby’s First Birthday

This day had to eventually come.

My husband and I’s family plans did indeed detail just two children. But I have undoubtedly found that as a mother, there is something about the time where infancy is morphing in to toddlerhood – that can stir up a longing for those sweet, milky-breathed newborn snuggles.

Though we’re not quite opening that toddlerhood door yet (and bubs still does have that milky breath – lol), we ARE on the heels of some of our last “firsts” as parents.

Like celebrating our last first birthday…

and soon here also, we will witness our last first steps.

Our last baby just barreling down the childhood track, even faster than the first one did! (like, WHA?!) I wish someone would have warned me that everything happens SO MUCH faster with the second baby.  Not just faster, but a hundred times more intense, too! Simply put, this past year has been a beautiful, but powerfully moving whirlwind.

Now before I come off as an overly-emotional mama bear, sitting here typing out what may seem like frustrations or “complaints”, let’s get things straight – I am BEYYYYYOOOOND thankful for these, though bittersweet, “last first moments”.  I remind myself daily, to be present, and am totally aware of just how fortunate and blessed we are to have such happy and healthy children.

But just as fast as this past year has elapsed, I know that time will never slow down… especially as a parent. So, in commemorating the magical year where I not only grew as a mommy of TWO, but also uncovered/learned/realized some of the most formidable details about myself, I am sharing this personal letter:

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.com

How I Used My DNA To Find My Long-lost Family!

For my entire life, I never knew what it was like to have a large extended family. The majority of my upbringing was spent with my parents and my brother, then a few distant relatives that we spent some holidays with as well.

See, my father was adopted and my mother has a rather small family. Though my father’s adopted parents were beloved and supportive grand+parents, there was always a lingering mystery for me as to my paternal ancestry.

I knew that he was adopted, and was told that his birthmother was a young Italian girl who just didn’t have the means to raise a child.  But being the ultra inquisitive person that I have always been, I frequently questioned these unknown biological roots further (though never receiving any other facts).

It wasn’t until I was married, starting a family of my own, and then plagued with health issues, that I became a bit more aggressive in my quest for answers. A journey in which led me to finding the legal decree of my father’s adoption. With those papers, I learned his full birth name that was given to him by his biological mother.

*COINCIDENCE #1: My father’s (birth) middle name is the same middle name that him and my mother gave to my brother (without knowing!)

With this information, I did some detective work, but came to a dead end because state laws would not grant requests for further information, without the person in question’s permission (unless they were deceased). Given that my dad hadn’t yet opened up to the possibilities of exploring this familial past, I decided for the meantime, to just let things be.

That was over four years ago.

Then this past New Year (2017) came around, and my husband approached me with an idea. He had seen a commercial for Ancestry DNA and thought that it could be a great option for me to explore.  If you’re unfamiliar, it is the largest consumer DNA database. With their services, you have the ability to order a kit, send in a saliva sample, and then have your DNA analyzed at more than 700,000 genetic markers. You are then provided with an ethnicity breakdown report and possibly even DNA matches from the over 3 million other consumers who have also taken an Ancestry DNA test.

This was an exciting idea to me, so I approached it with the outlook of finally reaching some answers as to my full ethnic makeup. I ordered a kit, sent in my saliva, and was patiently waiting for the results.

This past Thursday night (April 13, 2017) I received the e-mail announcing that my results were ready!

Rushing to login, I typed in my account credentials at basically the speed of light, while my mind was spinning and my heart was racing! I mean the anticipation had been building up for this moment, basically all of my life.  My husband and I sat in front of the computer with my test results pulled up on the screen. There were two main sections; the first displayed a pie chart with the percentage breakdown of my genetically found ethnicities.  (There were no big surprises there, as basically all of my makeup is from East and West Europe, Italy and Greece.) But, the big shocker was the second section displayed on my user portal – the “DNA MATCHES”.

There are different levels of certainty labels for these DNA matches. The highest level is “Extremely High”, with basically almost 100% certainty. AND I HAD SEVERAL “Extremely High” matches, which were also in the category of “Close Family” – not the “1st, 2nd, or 3rd Cousin” category… I’m talking, CLOOOOOSE FAMILY MATCHES!

I immediately opened these tabs. The #1 closest match did not have public user information available to view, but the #2 did. His profile showed a user photo… and he DEFINITELY looked like he was a relative of my dad!! I then opened up that user’s family tree and saw that it included THE SURNAME THAT WAS MY FATHER’S BIRTH SURNAME!!!!!!!!!

I couldn’t believe my eyes! So then I did what any investigative basic would do… I LOGGED ON TO FACEBOOK. (lol)

I typed in the name from that user match, and with only one narrowing of search terms, I FOUND HIM!

So I sent a message (okay maybe a few) and within not even 12 hours after receiving my DNA results, I HAD FOUND AND CONFIRMED WITH HIM (MY BIOLOGICAL UNCLE) THAT THIS WAS MY FATHER’S LONG-LOST FAMILY!!!!! (My biological grandmother, uncles, aunts, and cousins!!!!)

And as if that wasn’t crazy enough, let’s get to some of the first observed INSANELY wild facts that we all realized once we dove in to initial conversations:

*COINCIDENCE #2: My father’s legal name that he grew up with (given by his adopted parents), was the same first name as one of his long-lost biological brothers!

*COINCIDENCE #3: The town that my dad grew up in as a child and teenager (with his adopted family), IS THE SAME PLACE THAT HIS LONG-LOST BIOLOGICAL MOTHER AND SIBLINGS GREW UP AS WELL!

*COINCIDENCE #4: The place in which my parents currently live, is directly neighboring the place in which his biological mother and brothers currently live also!

*COINCIDENCE #5: It was Good Friday when all of this commenced, and the most recent sermon that I had listened to was on the topic of “God’s Timing”.

So after first speaking with my father’s biological brother and his wife, I called my dad to relay the news.

He was in awe and disbelief. I mean, it truly was unbelievable. But in essence, he was within positive spirits and gave the blessing for me to continue further.

The next step was for me to call his birthmother, my biological grandmother.

 

So I did, and it was otherworldly getting to speak to her for the first time — the woman that I often wondered about as a child (what she looked like, what her name was, was she really Italian? lol).  And now we have a beginning to a newfound familial relationship!!!!

To my even further delight, this newfound extended family was just as open to sharing and swapping information as I was!

My father’s birthmother shared the rather tough beginning to her life story.  She too, like my father, was adopted as a child.  Then, being back in the 1960’s, it wasn’t uncommon for an unwed pregnant woman (let alone a teenager) to be ostracized;  which is what seemed to have occurred in her life, until ultimately being sent away to a “home”/convent to give birth.

Sadly, in the postwar era of our country’s history, unwed mothers were not treated very kindly, and most times (in the point of view that I have reached from research) unfairly pressured in to placing their babies for adoption. According to a Public Broadcasting series that I watched in regards to this time in history, a family’s reputation was basically more prized than providing loving support for a young mother and child.

I now understand that in those baby-boom years following World War II, this was considered the societal norm. This led me to also believe that there undoubtedly has to be many other families today in the position that we found ourselves in.  Sadly though, many will probably never get so blessed to find such answers like the ones just bestowed upon my family and I.

And that’s partly because majority of these historical adoption proceedings were done with strict anonymity. Luckily for us though, since my biological grandmother was also adopted, one of her son’s was just as inquisitive towards their long-lost ancestrial past as well.  He had his and his mother’s DNA tested through the same Ancestry DNA program, then some time later, here we are with my newly added DNA to the database – and the puzzle pieces finally came together!

Now within the subsequent talks, my biological grandmother explained to me just how much she loved her firstborn son, my father.  She revealed that she still carries with her to this day, her only photograph of him, taken when he was a newborn.  She further declared to me, that she did not want to give him up, and vividly remembers lying in bed holding him, crying out because of the uncertainty of her future. She tried to keep him as her own, but in the following months it became utterly apparent that placing him for adoption would provide him with the highest probability of a prosperous life.  The story she shared of his actual adoption placing is beyond heart wrenching, picturing a young teenage girl handing her son to a nurse who then states, “Oh, what a beautiful baby!”, to then never see him again (or at least for 50+ years!!!!!). My gosh, I cannot. even. imagine.

As I’m writing this story out today, it has now been 3 days since the initial findings and reveal.  Then last night, our long-lost family met each other.  :)

*COINCIDENCE #6: My parents’ current house is only 6 miles down the road from my dad’s long-lost mother’s home!

The initial meeting was nerve-racking for all of us, but in true God’s glory fashion, all of us family members are just as genuinely hard-working and sincere as the next… what a further blessing, to not only find such long-lost answers, but to also not be letdown upon reviewing!

 

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.com

 

If you’re interested in more information on the DNA test that I did, you can find that – here.

But for now…

Happy, Happy, Joyous Easter!

 

 

x. Heather

How Being a “Go-Getter” Scored My First Job – Only a Week After College Graduation

20  Y E A R S  O L D |  The week after I graduated, earning my first college degree, I drove downtown and randomly picked one out of Honolulu’s tallest buildings with scores of professionals dutifully marching in and out of its doors.

I proceeded to the designated parking structure, paid a ridiculously high fee to stash my rust-covered “island beater” (a ’90’s Jeep Cherokee that I had originally paid $900 for), then grabbed my (also ridiculously large) pile of printed resumes/college transcripts, and headed for the fancy brass-trimmed entrance doors.

Upon entering the island skyscraper, I couldn’t help but feel like a tadpole in a koi pond…

…but that didn’t deter me. I stood on the lobby’s marble floors,  in front of a 10-foot-long directory display table, and started jotting down the names of all the offices listed as law firms or individual esquires.  

I then boarded one of the twelve elevators and was on my way.  I decided to start at the very top – the fanciest (and largest) penthouse office out of all the listed law firms. Being greeted by a monotonous desk clerk, she simply stated that they had no job openings there.  Regardless, I insisted, and ultimately still left a copy of my resume.

Getting back on to my elevator ride, I went down to the next floor.  My second attempt, was an office in which had no front desk receptionist, and everyone else was seemingly away at lunch or in the courtroom.  I left (with a note) an *all about me* packet on their entryway desk, then marched right back out and on my way.

I then approached an office of a lawyer with an exotic last name – I remember weirdly thinking to myself, “this is going to be the one”.

I walked in and received a warm greeting by the senior paralegal.  She then told me that her boss was in court for the day, but that she would be happy to chat with me. It was clear that I was in the right place.

She told me, “We have been REALLY needing more help here in our office, I prayed, then you just showed up before I even had time to type up, or post a job advertisement!”  Both of us were estastic. We conversed, she took down all of my information and told me that she would talk to her boss as soon as he got out of court, and then call me to set up a direct interview. 

At that point, although I had only a few attempts completed on my job hunt, I decided to head back to my Liliha home.  That was because there was a sense of calm that had washed over me, and I knew that things were going to work out with that last office.  

On my way back down the elevator though, the adrenaline that I had been surviving on had started to settle, and my body reminded me that I was still recovering from an illness. See, a week prior, the same day that I had graduated, I also ended up in the emergency room. Ultimately I was diagnosed with a kidney infection and had spent days unable to get off of my roommate and I’s couch or my suuuuper uncomfortable futon bed that I somehow survived on throughout college.

So driving home, I stopped to grab my cure-all:  Lanikai Juice’s Extravaganza Acai Bowl.  After that, I pulled in to my driveway, then barely got through the door before my phone was ringing…  

I GOT THE JOB!

The lawyer of course also wanted to meet with me personally, but from the conveyed “Go-Getter” impression that I had left on his executive paralegal, and what my resume and transcripts told him, he was convinced that I was exactly what their firm needed.

I got off the phone and immediately thought, “OMG I need work clothes!!” LOL.

For real though… living in Hawaii means that about 80% of your wardrobe are bikinis (with the rest being a mixture of hiking gear and “Waikiki nights” dress and heels). So to Ala Moana (the mall), I went!

Now long story short, just a few days later, I started my first legal career job at that office, as a Civil Litigations Paralegal. It was the absolute perfect position for me and where I was in my life path. But in hindsight, had I never decided to just GO AND GET IT, who knows where I would have landed otherwise.

I have always been a self-driven, ultra determined individual: like moving to an island 4,254 miles away from my only family (at just 17 years old), or my brief stint living in Los Angeles at 19 years old where I scored a waitressing job also by this same mentality & pursuit…

My underlying message here though?

In total honesty, if you believe in yourself, you can seriously achieve ANYTHING – I promise!

Now Go Get It,

x. Heather

OIL PULLING + Natural Dental Hygiene Products

OIL PULLING

Have you heard of oil pulling before?  Most of those I come across who have, actually hold a negative belief surrounding the practice. Maybe it’s because, well, it kind of sounds gross, right?  But aside from misjudgments, the facts are, it is an effective health ritual dating back to ancient times and still widely used today.  Now I could get even more historian on you here, but to keep things light, I’ll just get to the details…

BENEFITS

  • Naturally Whitens Teeth
  • Promotes Healthy Gums and Teeth
  • Remedies Bad Breath
  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Prevents Cavities
  • Pulls Toxins From Body
  • + MUCH MORE!

HOW-TO

Start the routine first thing after waking up in the morning – yes, even before brushing your teeth or drinking water!  This is because you want to have an empty stomach for the highest level of efficiency in drawing toxins from the body.  Don’t worry, I will also share info about the other times of the day that I oil pull as well.

So, take a teaspoon of organic coconut oil and start to swish it around in your mouth in the same manner as you would a mouth wash.  The first time you try this it may seem a bit odd, but I promise that the more times you do it, the more normal it will feel/become!

Keep swishing for about 20 minutes (the first couple of times you may not be able to last that long, but the longer the better).  Once the time is up, SPIT it out in to your trash, DO NOT spit it down the sink or swallow it!  If the oil is then milkier in color than when you first put it in your mouth – that’s good news (toxins going buh-bye!).

HOW OFTEN

I use this health remedy daily, though, every person will differ in sensibility, etc.  Also, because I thoroughly enjoy the afterwards feeling that oil pulling leaves my mouth with (polished and super clean) — I also carry in my purse, travel-size pouches of 100% pure coconut oil (from Coconut Swish) and will oil pull after eating meals out at restaurants (yes, I’m serious).  Nothing beats a clean feeling mouth!

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.com

*Use code “balancedlife” for 25% off your Coconut Swish order!*

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCED BENEFITS FROM OIL PULLING

Since I started this health habit, my latest dental cleaning appointments have all basically solidified the success of incorporating oil pulling in to my everyday routine.  That is because (and also the biggest benefit), my teeth have literally had next to ZERO amount of plaque/tartar. Both my dentist and hygienist are astonished each time I come in and my mouth is seemingly pure!

Now I can’t tell you that this other additional benefit is 100% just from oil pulling, but…. I have also had ZERO cavities since I religiously stuck to oil pulling daily (+).

I am obsessed.

OTHER (NATURAL) SUPERSTAR DENTAL HYGIENE PRODUCTS

COCOFLOSS

Just like the feeling that oil pulling leaves me with, Cocofloss basically does the equivalent, but during and after flossing.  Here is the company’s description of what this product is all about:

Cocofloss is a super-cleansing, high performance dental floss. Its microfiber filaments are designed to scrub your pearly whites refreshingly clean. Coconut oil invigorates your smile. Subtle fruit hints relax and delight. It’s floss paradise.

YUP. I can attest to all of that amazingness. Since being introduced, I now cannot see myself without this floss in my daily dental health routine either! (p.s. the “Fresh Coconuts” variant is my FAV/go-to choice). The thought of coconut oil getting in to the tiniest crevices of my gums/between my teeth – omgosh, heaven!

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.com

DAVID’S NATURAL TOOTHPASTE

I have ranted and raved (but in all positive tones) about this toothpaste for the past 6 months now, and I still feel just as passionate about this product.  It’s one of my 2017 MUST-HAVE Beauty Products and another cannot-live-without dental hygiene staple.

Since getting pretty much all of my friends and family on board with this natural toothpaste also (and many of my online readers), I have still never received one negative feedback comment.

David’s Natural is mindfully created using high quality ingredients to safely/effectively whiten teeth, fight plaque, and freshen breath.  However, it also contains USA origin ingredients (essential oil!!!) which supports American jobs — win-win!  You won’t find any artificial flavoring, sweeteners, colors, or preservatives; and it is Fluoride, Sulfate, and Cruelty FREE. YES! YES! YES!

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.com

(Oh, also… the metal tube packaging is TOTES recyclable!)  Find it – here. You’re welcome ;)

 

I hope that my oral health excitement (borderline OCD), can insight inspiration in you too!

& here’s to shiny, clean teeth,

x. Heather

 

The Ultimate ELIXIR for Flu & Cold Season

It’s been two+ years of developing my go-to health elixir; the one that is used within our household when just about any type of illness is manifesting.  This habit first came to life while I was working on a research paper in college and had learned about the medicinal spice that is star anise.

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.comThe first time that I utilized this star-shaped wonder, I had noticed that I was starting to come down with some type of wintertime illness. To my surprise, after drinking the anise soak, I never ended up getting sick, and the subtle symptoms vanished within 48 hours.

From there, I sought out more dual purpose herbs and supplements that I could incorporate in to my now beloved super-star drink.  It didn’t take long for manuka honey to be added to the line up, and then the rest followed in queue until my very own health elixir was bred!

But before I spill the beans and give you all the deets, I would like to note my personal views…

I believe that the best approach to any flu/cold bug, is trying to treat the body holistically, as soon as initial symptoms occur. Years ago, before I committed to this lifestyle of mine, I used to ignore warning signs and tough through symptoms with the mindset that I just didn’t have time to deal with being “sick.”

Yea… about that. Such a mindset really blew up in my face a few times (I’ll spare the details) – NOT FUN.

To get back to the point here though, instead of depending on prescribed medicines, shoveling out co-pays, submitting yourself and/or your family to germ-riddled waiting rooms at local urgent cares (once you are dealing with the full-blown flu or some other bug), perhaps it’s time to incorporate your own little health elixir and attempt/possibly heal before sickness has a chance to snowball!

**This is my personal home remedy, but please remember that I am not a licensed physician and am in no way giving you health advice. This post is merely for those who have inquired about my recipe, as well as for inspiration to kick-start your own research/development.

MY RECIPE:

Water – 2 cups filtered and warm

Start with 2 cups of slightly warmed (over a stovetop) water in a mug.

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.comWater that is slightly warm or room temperature not only allows the body to use more energy on healing (instead of having to regulate cold water), but also will allow for the full enzymatic and energetic properties of the components in this elixir to be available (hot water can destroy certain properties that are beneficial).

Aside from temperature though, the type of water that you use is also important.  You want it to be filtered of contaminants, but still containing naturally occurring minerals. Alkaline water is even better! This is because, well hellos – cancer and most illnesses cannot survive in an oxygenated and alkaline body. But also, a balanced pH level will give your immune system the ability to work most efficiently.

Lemon – half a lemon’s juice

Add half a lemon’s juice to the warm water to begin the elixir creation.

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.comVitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E,  Folate, Thiamin, Choline, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Selenium, Protein, and Water… It’s what fresh lemon juice is made up of.

I have read time and time again, that lemon juice can decrease the strength of an illness (cold/flu, etc.) within the body. It can also potentially help to speed the healing by way of reducing phlegm as well.  It’s a natural antiseptic, so it just made sense to be included in my elixir!

A few other possible abilities of the lemon component:

Increase perspiration, reduce constipation, purify blood, aid liver in producing efficient bile, remove metabolic wastes, alkalize body, possibly control proliferation (like the growing) of bad bacteria/viruses, + reduce uric acid (which can possibly help relieve pain).

Ginger – 1 to 2 inch piece/ freshly ground ginger

Ground  fresh ginger and add to the warm lemon water.

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.comGinger contains antibacterial and antiviral properties, but is most commonly known for the treatment of nausea and stomach symptoms. Though, it is a great component to utilize in my elixir as well, because it helps to reduce overall symptoms.

Possible abilities:

  • Improve appetite/stimulate digestion
  • Reduce stomach discomfort
  • Relieve sinus congestion
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Ease aches and pains (analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties)
  • Stimulate perspiration (reduce body temperature/fever and flush toxins)
  • Loosen mucus from lungs/sinuses and prevent formation of excess formation

Manuka Honey – 1 tbsp.

Stir 0ne tbsp. of manuka honey in to the warm water concoction, until it has dissolved. (This always soothes my throat instantly!)

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.comYou may have heard of this type of honey by now, seeing as in the past few years it has been gaining popularity not only in the health world, but also in the beauty industry.

Understandably for a good reason, seeing that this nectar is an all-around SUPERFOOD.  It is natively found in New Zealand, deriving from the “manuka bushes”.  This foraged superfood is said to have very unique antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antioxidant, antiseptic, and even anti-inflammatory properties!  It is used for many ailments, including wound-healing, and just for overall good health and well-being.

I also use this on cuts, blemishes, and even in my DIY/homemade face mask that I slather on every few days to clear up any trouble zones! It’s remarkable, and if I had to choose between star anise or manuka honey, I honestly don’t think that I could live without either!

(*WARNING*: NEVER give honey to children under 1 year of age, it can be toxic to their bodies!)

Himalayan Pink Salt – 1 tsp.

Add 1 tsp. of himalayan pink salt to concoction and let dissolve.

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.comI’m pretty sure that I once read that pink salt is the oldest salt? Something like 200 million year old deposits are cultivated in the Himalayan region of the world.

This salt is incredible. Its’ make up includes over 80 minerals/elements, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.  When compared to regular, “table salt”, it is a no-brainer choice for me.  That is because table salt is treated and chemically “enhanced” for selling purposes, which also basically gives no real health benefits to the latter and can potentially lead to other health issues.

But as for why I started adding the pink granules to my elixir, this was because it is my belief that not only is it the purest form of salt readily available to us, but that the electrolytes being so readily/bioavailable from it, it is key for healing and aiding the body when illness strikes!

Some other added bonuses to including pink salt, is that it can help the body not only digest food better, but also allow better absorption of all the ‘good stuff’ (NUTRIENTS) that we want our body to welcome and use from the food we are eating!

P.S. I also regularly soak in a Himalayan salt bath 1-2 times a week.

Star Anise – 3 to 4 whole pods

Add three or four pods to the warm water concoction and let soak for at least 25 minutes before beginning to slowly drink.

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.comLet me tell you a secret.

A SECRET INGREDIENT of the mass-produced pharmaceutical drug Tamiflu, is STAR ANISE.  To no surprise really though, because star anise seeds can potentially fight against yeast, bacteria, fungi, and viruses!  In a 2008 study published in the Journal of Medical Virology, it was conveyed that the combination of star anises’ shikimic acid, amongst the flavonoid quercetin, gives the ability to ramp up your immune system to resist viral infection.

I’m not implying that you can just rely on Tamiflu then, because obviously there are other ingredients within the drug (prescribed by doctors when someone is diagnosed with the flu), PLUS – remember what I said previously about my mindset of treating at the sign of symptoms?! ;)

 

MY EXPERIENCE WITH THIS ELIXIR:

Some doctors may relay the message of recuperation time being a week or more once diagnosed with the flu or similar illnesses. For me, since I began drinking this elixir, it has done the following three things:

  1. Stopped an illness from developing further (never actually “getting sick” or any worsening symptoms).
  2. Shortened the time of an illness (feeling sick/symptoms).
  3. Allowed me to still function as a mother and wife while being sick, since it weakened illnesses strength.

 

WARNINGS & RISKS:

You must consult your personal health care provider before trying any herbal supplements.  There are certain elements within this elixir that can work differently in each person’s body make-up due to preexisting conditions. For example, those who take blood pressure, diabetes, or blood clotting medicine: too much ginger can reduce the effectiveness of such prescriptions. Also, new mothers may need to restrict the amount of ginger following childbirth because of blood loss. Furthermore, breastfeeding mothers should consult their lactation consultant prior to consuming any new supplements, since active elements can pass through breastmilk.  Always consult a naturopathic and/or medical doctor before using any alternative medicines/therapy!

If you are already sick, you should follow such a guideline to protect others as well as to aid in your healing:

  • Stay home and avoid close contact/sharing things with those who are at high risk, such as pregnant women, the elderly, and infants/children.
  • If you are within that high risk category, or have chronic health problems, consult a medical physician and/or get the appropriate help immediately.
  • REST. It gives the body the ability to use maximum amount of energy to heal.
  • STAY HYDRATED. This will help flush out toxins, amongst other things, like regulate body temperature.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Clean/sanitize any areas that you may have spread germs on, like door knobs, light switches, toilet handles, tv remotes, cell phone, keyboards, etc.
  • EAT CLEAN FOOD. Nutritional food will further strengthen your immune system and allow your body to heal to its’ best ability.

 

Healthy Wishes,

x. Heather

For the Love of ALOHA – 2017 Blog Update!

When you live on an island for over a decade, there may come a time where a change-of-pace elsewhere can seem like a welcoming thought.  That is at least what initially occurred to my husband and I when we most recently were departing the aloha state.

…but let me tell you, not even 24 hours after touching down in that “elsewhere” place, and our heartstrings already felt the tug.

The tug of being homesick.

See, to us, home has never been the places in which we were raised as children. Rather, home was where we morphed out of teenage life and molded in to adults.  It is where we both individually ventured to on our own and then made lives for ourselves.  Also, it is where we eventually met each other, fell in love, and gave birth to our first child.

Home, is Hawaii.

For a while though, we fought that tugging feeling, as we just didn’t see permanently moving back to the islands being aligned in our stars.  Career-related events led us to leaving, and then child-planning kept our minds looking elsewhere.

We then tried convincing ourselves that the rumored poor state of public education in Hawaii was a good reason to continue looking elsewhere while planning our “forever home” – the home where we can lay down roots for our family.

Further, in comparing the housing market and family home prices on island, with elsewhere, this also helped to (temporarily) ward off that tugging even more.

We contemplated becoming residents of Washington state, building a beachfront home on the coast of Florida, even toyed with the idea of living in the woods of Georgia.  See, we did our research.  And for a while we thought that we had it all figured out, too!

But then one morning we received a phone call that erased all of what we had thought were set family plans. The phone call was an offer for a position back in Hawaii. And lets just say, it didn’t take us even 10 seconds to shout – YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We looked at each other and said, “Let’s go home”.

See, the truth is… once the aloha spirit resides in you, it never truly leaves.

Though in previously searching for a mainland plot to call home, we thought that we were doing what’s “best” for our kids.  But reality was, we were lying to ourselves. I mean, c’mon, we even had a mutual agreement to never play the Hawaii Five-0 show on our television, doesn’t that say something about inner turmoil?! A show that portrays the island as a crime-riddled place, yet we couldn’t bare to watch because the 10 second clips spanning Diamond Head, Kahala, Waikiki Beach, Manoa Valley, Northshore… all sent jolts of longing pain straight through our hearts.  Those of you who have ever left Honolulu International Airport with tears in your eyes and a lump in your throat, I’m sure that you fully understand what I’m saying here.  

But in finally being honest with ourselves, we thought – there really is no place like our home.  And that’s why we are so unbelievably happy to now announce that we are permanently moving back to the island this summer. It’s even more blissful knowing that the place where we will be giving our children a childhood and beyond, is as magical as goldenhour’s sky morphing between 10 different colors within just one sunset.

With this all being said now, there is obviously a lot of behind-the-scenes work going on and many moving parts that come along with permanently relocating a family (especially with a baby and a toddler).

So, stick with me, there’s some grind ahead, but in due time, this platform that we have built here at BALANCED LIFE ALOHA, will come full circle and further blossom in to something  even more remarkable to share with you… Here’s to the most amazing summer to come:

 

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.com

Mahalo &  Much Aloha,

x. Heather

Frozen Lemon PEEL Cubes for Health Benefits!

Lemon water has been a part of my morning ritual for almost a decade now.  There are an undeniable amount of health benefits that come from consuming the juice of lemons, including:

  • Fighting Inflammation
  • Flushing/Cleansing Kidneys and Liver
  • Clearing Skin
  • Replenishing Electrolytes
  • Aiding a Healthy Immune System (Vitamin C)
  • Aiding Collagen Formation (Vitamin C)

And the cancer-fighting properties within lemons have been studied/recorded for quite some time also.

However, what many don’t realize, is that the peel of a lemon actually holds an even larger array of health benefits! (It’s also been noted that the peel has more abilities to detox the body than the juice alone.)

I know what you’re thinking though, “uhhhmm, but how am I supposed to eat a LEMON PEEL?!?” (or any type of peel for that matter).  Well, I’m here to share my little trick with you!

What I do is:

  1. Wash the (organic) lemons thoroughly – not with a chemical soap, but rather a clean produce wash (like the one from Trader Joe’s), or just plain organic vinegar.
  2. Slice/dice, any which way really, this is just to aid in the blending step… (keep ALL parts of the fruit).
  3. Place in a high-powered blender with just a splash of filtered water.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Pour in to ice cube trays.
  6. Freeze.

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.com

 

*NOTE: Make sure to use organic lemons, otherwise it really defeats the purpose.  Plus, the taste from the chemicals stored within the peel of non-organics will not be delightful.

I use these cubes in water, smoothies, and even my bone broth!

 

Enjoy,

x.  Heather

 

 

 

Hawaiian Spirulina Detox Bath

Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is cultivated worldwide and used as a dietary supplement.

Since I purchased my Hawaiian spirulina powder though, I have struggled to create a recipe with it.  For some reason, the strong old spinach-like taste is just not very versatile (should have bought the tablet form).

Regardless though, it’s packed full of minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and amino acids. And even more impressive, is the bioavailability of the iron and calcium it contains; as well as the fatty acid gamma linoleum acid – which is a powerhouse inflammatory fighter!

But time after time, I couldn’t stomach the smoothies I was creating with this green substance – but I had so much of it!!  So what did I do??

Put it in my bath tub of course!

& My skin has never felt so soft!!

 

It just made sense to me, and I finally felt like I was putting it to good use, by way of DETOX BATHS!

Bathing in Hawaiian spirulina can help to not only revitalize tired skin, but also nourish and soften it.

From the research that I have read thus far, it’s also a great option for detoxing the body.  Furthermore, because of its’ anti-inflammatory properties, it is said to help with sore muscles too!

And seeing as not many “detoxes” are safe for nursing mothers, being able to utilize such a gentle aid in purifying my body, it’s all-around a great day!

 

Happy Soaking,

x. Heather

 

 

 

 

Collagen Gummies RECIPE

BACK STORY:

If you follow my blog posts, then I am sure that you have learned a bit about my recent genetic diagnosis (if not, you can find more about that – here).

Anyways, to be short, I’ve dealt with joint pain my entire life and just now have gotten the real answer as to why; Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (“EDS”).

Basically put, it causes a defect in the structure, production, and processing of collagen or proteins that interact with collagen.  Collagen is the most teeming protein in the human body. It’s found in the skin, muscles, bones, and tendons. Essentially, it is the glue that holds the body together, while allowing both strength and elasticity.

Although since I began my autoimmune-healing journey a few years ago, the lifestyle has brought lots of relief to this joint pain that I once suffered from daily (especially in my knees), with bone broth being the largest contributor to that blessing (find my recipe video for BB – here). However, more recently, I have started to feel new aches and an overall weakened ability within some newly-affected problem areas.

But this diagnosis seemingly came at the perfect time (WOW, did I really just say that?!)… What I mean is, now that I have a deeper understanding as to what is causing some of the ailments that halt my overall wellness, I can be even more proactive and target specific protocols and new rituals in order to (hopefully) stop  progression.  Funny thing is, I had already started to implement natural supplements, including collagen, in to my diet months prior to learning that the collagen my body creates itself, is subpar (because of EDS).  But I really only had a bit more than fundamental knowledge in regards to gelatin, collagen, and the full range of supplements that I was using to receive their overall wellness-giving properties. So, I had some more specific research to do!

To start, you can find the list of the natural supplements that I am referring to, in this review article of mine (or directly from the Vital Proteins – website). But now let’s get on to the good stuff…

THE RESEARCH:

AT THIS POINT IN TIME, I HAVE READ OVER 50(+) SCIENTIFIC PAPERS AND CLINICAL RESEARCH  STUDIES IN REGARDS TO THE EFFECTIVENESS OF INGESTING COLLAGEN, AS WELL AS ITS’ IMPLICATIONS TO EHLER’S-DANLOS SYNDROME.

The basic idea that I have gathered, is that the active collagen fragments which are absorbed through ingesting a collagen supplement, circulates through the bloodstream, and ultimately can improve NOT JUST skin health, but soooooooo many other bodily functions as well (which I will be getting more in detail about in my next article coming soon!!!)

But for now, here are a few conclusions from some of the human clinical trials that I have read:

  • Results suggest that ingestion of collagen peptide improves the function of deeper regions of the skin.
  • Collagen peptides are absorbed, as evidenced by their presence in human blood, 1-2 hours after ingestion.
  • Type II collagen (CII) is a peptide and component of joint cartilage. It’s oral ingestion appears to reduce autoimmunity to the body’s own CII, resulting in less inflammation in instances of osteoarthritis and rheumatism and benefits to joint health.
  • 43 subjects (86%) saw improvement in the quality of their nails. Additionally, when the treatment ceased, the nail defects returned.
  • Thickness and strength of the hair increased significantly. The increase in thickness was greater for women than for men, possibly because the women’s hair was thinner at the onset of the study. After treatment stopped, hair thickness returned to its original level.

My Conclusion:

Good nutrition is especially important for those of us with EDS (and in the autoimmune community), so supplementing with collagen can aid in overall well-being, and perhaps even spark further healing.

REFERENCES:
Beighton P, De Paepe A, Steinmann B et al. Ehlers–Danlos syndromes revised nosology. Am J Med Genet 1998;77: 31–7.
Iwai K, et al. Identification of food-derived collagen peptides in human blood after oral ingestion of gelatin hydrolysates 2005;53:6531-6.
Koyama Y. Effects of collagen peptide ingestion on the skin. 2009:44:10-12.
Rosenberg S, et al. Further studies in the use of gelatin in the treatment of brittle nails. 1957:76:330-5
Scala J et aI., Effect of daily gelatine ingestion on human scalp hair. 1976:13:579-92.
Shashikiran U, Rastogi A, Gupta RP, Sabir M. Ehlers–Danlos syndrome type VI variant presenting with recurrent respi- ratory infections and responding to high dose vitamin C. J Assoc Physicians India 1999;47:554–5.

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.com

So apart from the collagen that I receive from drinking my morning mug of bone broth, I have also started to make these collagen gummies.  To me, they are super easy to make, as well as perfect on-the-go snack size bursts of yummy/healing goodness!

RECIPE:

COCONUT-CINNAMON COLLAGEN GUMMIES//

*Note: It took me a few tries to get just the right consistency and proportions, so don’t give up if on your first try – they don’t come out perfect (just yet)! ;)

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 Cup Shredded Coconut

1/2 Cup Filtered Water

1/2 Cup Raw Honey

1/2 TSP Sea Salt

1/2 TSP Coconut Oil

1/2 TSP Vanilla Extract (or powder for AIP)

1/2 TSP Cinnamon Powder

4 TBSP (about) Gelatin   (As of right now, I ONLY recommend this brand –> Vital Proteins , it’s grass-fed, GMO-FREE, 100% pure, & so much more that I will be sharing in further detail about soon also!!!)

*NOTE: Gelatin is derived from collagen ;)

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a small saucepan, pour in 1/2 the amount of water.
  2. Then evenly sprinkle the gelatin over the water without stirring.
  3. Let sit for 5 minutes (this is to let the gelatin dissolve).
  4. Once dissolved, or “bloomed”, add the remaining ingredients.
  5. Check sweetness and adjust to your taste (optional).
  6. GENTLY (do not allow to simmer or boil) warm on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly (you want no visible bits of gelatin)!
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Pour (or use a dropper) your gummy mixture into molds (or if you don’t have molds, a glass dish)
  9. Place in to the refrigerator until they set (I usually let set overnight).
  10. Once set and “gummy”, pop-out of molds (or cut in to squares if used a dish).
  11. Enjoy!

BALANCEDLIFEALOHA.com

The mixtures/combos of ingredients are endless when it comes to these homemade gummies. Every palate varies, so you be the judge as to what and how much of a certain flavor-adding ingredient works for you or your family.

And as always, don’t forget to share your creations with me on social media, using #balancedlifealoha!

Good Luck,

x. Heather