It rained in sunny San Diego

Thursday, November 29, 2018

You take things like rain for granted when you live in a place like North Carolina where it rains almost every day. I do believe since we moved to San Diego it's rained less here than when we lived in the dessert.

That other blog kept me in a niche box

Friday, November 23, 2018

I have been a blogger for more than ten years. During that time I've started and stopped several blogs. The issue each time has been the niche. I've boxed myself in where I can only blog about holistic health, travel, gardening, living in a motorhome etc.

Pregnancy. Honesty. Doing my best.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Friends, family, essential oil team, and reader I have yet to meet... I want you to know that I am 100% thrilled to be pregnant. Since Robert and I began our relationship in 2008 we were told a few times we only had a 3% chance of getting pregnant so this news has been mind-blowing, emotional, unexpected, and a little depressing...

Our first doctor visit.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

It did not go the way that we thought it would, but it did go better than I imagined,  so it is all good. We thought we were going to a group class but there were so few of us we got to have a one on one visit with the doctor. And... we got to see our baby.

She is having my baby.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

So we have been together now for ten years. In that time we have taken no safeguards against pregnancy. The doctors told her with her health conditions, PCOS and endometriosis, we had like a 3% chance of conceiving. So we thought that it would not happen.

We were OK with this.

We did not feel like we had to have a child to complete our life together. We imagined our future life would be filled with travel and adventure. Besides, I am 40 turning 41 soon... if we have a baby now will I still have the energy to take care of a baby? The first time I did this I was 15, and it was exhausting. We just accepted that it was not going to happen for us and moved on.

Then last week Aunt Flow never made her visit. We have had a few times when she was late. I always get a little more excited than I should, and I talk her into taking a pregnancy test. Sure enough, that is all it takes to get the blood flowing. This time it was different.

She called me in the bathroom while she sat on the bowl. All she could say was babe come here and told me to look at the stick. I said well you're pregnant as I put it back down on the counter and went back in the living room to sit in my chair.

I did not know what to think. A big part of me could not believe my eyes. I just had to sit down and let it soak in. It was like hitting the lottery. You always hope for it, but you do not think it is going to happen no matter how many tickets you buy. When you have the winning ticket in your hand, you check it like ten times before you believe it. We stared at that stick for a while, like it was a Picasso.

At first, we were not going to tell anyone. I wanted to post a picture of the test stick to every social media site, but I think there is some etiquette to these types of things. We had to call the family... our moms would be upset if they found out on facebook.

It has kind of been strange like I am living in a haze. I can not stop thinking about all the things we have to do to prepare, all the wonderful things that I have to look forward to, and all the ways our lives are going to change.

Even as I write this I find it hard to keep a train of thought. I want to write about shopping for prenatal vitamins, Baby names, and cloth diapers. But as fast as I think about one thing another pops up in my head.

We have our first first time parent class on Tuesday and we are excited. Maybe by then, I will be able to hold a thought in my head for a full minute. I am sure we will have a lot more to write about then. Right now we are trying to learn which essential oils are safe with the pregnancy and how to adjust Kayla's diet.

I know this will not exactly be an announcement as before I felt free to write this Kayla posted online. So it is just a post for me to tell anyone who wants to hear it I am going to be a daddy and I am super excited.


It's okay if Keto doesn't work for you. Here's why:

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Friends... I have been on the ketogenic diet for 18 months now. In those months I have struggled, I have cheated on my diet, I have almost given up but here's the thing... when I stick to the ketogenic diet my body feels better. Yes loosing one hundred and twenty five pounds has made me feel better but the symptoms of a health condition I have are dramatically reduced when I am starving my body of glucose.

My endocrinologist recommended the keto diet for a condition I have called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Because of the way my body processes sugar the keto diet helps provide fuel in the form of ketones instead of glucose. Starving my body of unneeded glucose reduces my anxiety, regulates my menstrual cycle, and allows my body to release weight it was holding on to before.

Prior to the keto diet I was always tired, anxious, and hungry. Since I cut back to 20 carbs per day and went all in on the diet (about six months ago) I rarely crave sugar*, I have 80% less anxiety, my cycles are regular and less painful/traumatic to my body.

Daily snack at around 10 AM.

Sure, heightened levels of focus and all the weight lost are amazing perks but... I did not start this diet to think more clearly. To be honest my main concern was not even the weight loss at first it was regulating my body/hormones/emotions.

Keto is recommended for a few conditions such as PCOS, Epilepsy, Diabetes, Autism, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's. If you are suffering from one of these conditions I absolutely would suggest getting your shit together and starting the keto diet. What could it hurt, right?

If you do not have one of these conditions or more than 100 pounds to loose I would not suggest the keto diet. I mean sure I make it look easy but you need to understand a few things:
  1. It can be hard on your body. If you are not meticulously diligent about consuming the correct ratio's of fats, proteins, and carbs... you may as well not do it. You are going to starve your body of fuel and could end up in the hospital.
  2. It is boring. If you are a foodie who needs variety don't do keto. I seriously dislike 95% of the keto replacement recipes. I don't make keto bread or keto pancakes because they are not the real thing and they are gross. I eat the same food, literally the exact same food seven days a week because it doesn't taste like sawdust cookies (almond flour cookies) or like soggy bread (cloud bread recipe). If you are okay with having a mostly boring diet you will be alright. When you go out to eat there are options... but your friends plates will look better than yours.
  3. Its a fad for a reason... okay in the last eighteen months I would say that 80% of the people I have met have either tried keto or are thinking about trying keto. That's great and I salute people who are seeing real results on keto. I think it is utterly unhealthy though to do keto for two or three days and then binge on carbs. The entire point of the keto diet is to transition your body from burning glucose (sugar) to burning ketones (a type of fat in your body). This extreme yo-yo'ing I have seen others go through when attempting to try keto is not good. I personally do not judge anyone who has a hard time sticking to a diet. I have dieted for years prior to my diagnosis with no results if anyone understands I do... but on the other hand if you have been on a diet for four weeks and you are seeing no results take yourself to your doctor and figure out why. I feel like I need to clarify here... if you have been doing a diet for four weeks and have lost no weight there is likely something off with your hormones/thyroid/etc. 

Guys there are so many diets out there that do not change the type of fuel your body runs on... if you have 20 - 80 pounds to shed try the low-carb or whole thirty diets. Go vegan if that's your thing. But please for the love of coconut oil do not start the keto diet because it is popular. Start it because you are committed to changing your life. I use it as a tool to keep my PCOS in check... if you have PCOS or one of the many conditions it helps you should definitely try it. Listen to your body... if you are trying it by the book and you think something is wrong with you or that your body cannot tolerate the high levels of fat go to the doctor. 

*I'm not going to lie and say I never crave sugar... the week before my cycle is the only time I crave sweets but I resist and make it through using peanut butter and zero carb protein shakes as a crutch. 

You are in charge of your own life so act like it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

You are entitled to a drama free life, a toxin free life, a good-stable-financially healthy life... but do you have that? If your answer is anything less than yes... you have work to do. I can't do it for you or I would. I'm far from perfect and I still have work to do... but that my friends is the entire point of this post. We can all improve our lives and should.

Did you know: Your mind starts to believe something is normal after you have seen or done that thing 3-5 times. For example, that sock on the floor or the pile of bills on the table... you knew the first time you saw it there that you should put it away... but now you have walked past it three or four times. Guess what?! Until you decide to do a deep clean or focus your energy on clearing off your table it will stay there. Your mind now believes that this is where those items have always belonged. And you are okay with that...

The same can be said about our choices. 

Every good and bad thing that is happening in your life is occurring because you are allowing it to. Think about it... your choices are either keeping you stuck in a place you hate or helping you propel your life forward.

You may not believe this but... it is more comfortable for our minds if we stay in a job we hate, a relationship we hate, a town we hate, a weight/size we hate than it is for us to change. This is all due to the thing we hate being familiar to us. The blame for this also partly lays in our desire to succeed when we try something new. Most people would rather stay in the safe zone, with the covers over their head, than to try something new and fail.

There have been many times in my life where it would have been easier to remain hidden in a life that was half lived. I could have easily pulled the blankets up and settled in to a bowl of carb-heavy popcorn in front of whatever show Netflix recommended I binge watch next. I'm serious... I painted that picture so well because I have lived it... a few times.

Its only when I throw the blankets away, get off my pitty potty, evaluate how far I've come, consider my 5-10 year goals, and take action that I am able to break that cycle. I have written posts about how you can take baby-steps to leave your comfort zone. I have held peoples hands and said oh just do (fill in the blanks) when the time is right... but really that's not how I have handled my life at all. I have never waited until the time was right. If I had I would still be waiting...

What can you change now? Starting with what you have, what is one area in your life that you could improve today? What's your excuse? Is your desire to change larger than your excuse?

Several people have followed my blog for a while and love the idea of living a toxin free life but... they say I can't afford essential oils. My response, with love and respect is, neither could I. When I decided to throw out all of my health/beauty products in 2012 it was most certainly not because I could afford to replace them. I threw away full bottles of products I had scored as an extreme couponer. It hurt my soul to get rid of items that I knew I couldn't afford to replace if I changed my mind. Robert was a little pissed too because I made him throw everything out as well. I'm not sure that he liked the idea of using baking soda and coconut oil for deodorant but he did it, we did it, and I started with what I had. Later when we had a little more income, and I mean we had $20 to spare each month, I started by purchasing a wholesale account and getting one essential oil each month from a list that included almost every single doTERRA essential oil.

The same thing happened when my doctor diagnosed me with PCOS... when I knew that my inability to loose weight was not my fault I wanted to get on the pitty potty and cry about how I wish the doctors had realized this before I weighed 300, 350, 400, or 450 pounds. I got lost in the thought that it could seriously take me years to get the weight off and have a handle on my health again. I guess, after years of dieting with no results, a part of my mind had succumbed to the thought that I would always be that large. I started where I was. I realized that I could only control the choices I made moving forward. I changed my diet from vegan to keto, which was a total mind-f***, and decided that nothing would get in my way.

I'm writing all of this because I want you to know that anyone can change their life if I can. I feel like I was meant to endure the physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health challenges that I have in order to help others see the light. Nothing happens overnight, if someone tells you otherwise they are lying. I will not lie to you.

I will be blunt and remind you that the only thing stopping you from reaching your full potential is the amount of time/energy you are willing to put in to making it happen. Full stop.

I believe in you and would love to hear about how you have overcome your challenges. Even if our stories are different, knowing that you too have had to make hard choices and have come out on the other side a better person inspires me to continue working towards my goals.

Until next time, don't let your mind trick you into believing you deserve a life half lived. Be well and put you first!

Change doesn't have to be scary

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Change is such a big little word. Change seems to be the only true constant in this world. Yet we all seem to fear it and fight it tooth and nail. Though this makes no sense I can kind of see why we feel this way.
Change can be very uncomfortable and no one wants to be uncomfortable. Even if you are not in a comfortable position how do you know the change will help? You can not always predict how a change will affect you and the unknown is scary. Sometimes things are just fine the way they are so why go changing anything?

I get it, the truth though is you are going to face change. Some changes will be gradual. You will age, and with this comes a whole host of changes we all fight and fear. Some are more immediate and unexpected. You could lose your job and I do not need to tell you all the changes that come from that type of event. 

Most changes are more simple and less noticed but changes we fight and fear none the less. Some of us are worse than others. We eat at the same places all the time and we have had the same haircut since the 3rd grade. Some of us are fine with the little things but the big things stop us, like changing careers or cities.

We here at Apothekayla are all about change. Our inception was born of the need to change the way we treated our body. Our growth came with the need to change the way we treated our souls. Our passion came when we changed the way we lived our life.

Changing the way we treated our health was not easy and the size of the change made it scary. The alternative was scarier still. The realization that what we used to clean our home, care for our bodies, and what we ingested in our foods could have serious effects on our health was scarier than the thought of having to relearn what we thought we knew about healthy living.

After doing our best to remove what we thought was an obstacle to our heather physical-selves we addressed what was an obstacle to our happier-selves. This opened questions about our careers, where we lived, and how we lived.

We are by no means masters of change. For example, I own the same pair of pants and shirt combo in four colors, you know what I mean if you have seen my recipes with Rob series.  Still, we have managed to make a lot of changes over the years and I have some advice on how to get through it if you care to listen.

My first piece of advice is to direct the change. Not every change is going to be ones you see coming as I have said, but the ones you see coming are a lot less scary when you are in control. To do this you have to have your head up, your eyes open, and be proactive.

For example, don't wait till your sick to change your diet. "Sure, I feel fine now and fast food is quick and easy. Besides, it is only other people who have to worry about that kind of thing." I know I have had those thoughts my self. I could have continued down the path I was on to conveniently killing myself with food-like products or I could take control of my diet while I still had a choice.

Today I have a choice in how I change my diet for the better. I can choose to try all organic and all natural. I have a choice between veganism or keto. I know these choices and I can control them today. I could fear, avoid, fight or ignore this change and let my Oncologist make those choices for me later.

My next piece of advice is to take baby steps. In our quest to heal our souls we decided we needed to change toxic people, places, and things. So we spent everything we had on an RV to head out and explore the country. That was not a baby step and it was a big scary change. All the little steps that lead up to that big leap though gave us the strength to face that fear and make that change. 

We hade to change the relationships we had with family and friends. We had to change the way we made money and thought about work. We hade to change priorities about what we needed and what was important to our happiness.

Succumbing to your wanderlust may not be what you need to heal your soul or follow your bliss but for us it was. It was a big scary need that seemed imposable. It seemed almost easier to deal with all the little things that made life too uncomfortable to tolerate.   

Whatever your big scary need is though it is a lot less big and scary if you take it one small step at a time. Changing jobs may seem like a big deal now but, if you develop a skill you know you will need on that new job now, it will be less scary when you go to apply.  If you need to change your relationship with someone try calling less or calling more depending on how you want the relationship to change.

The point is you do not have to change the rest of your life today. All you have to do is change the choice you make now to align closer to what you need.  Each choice you make towards that change will bring you closer to it. Then one-day things have changed and you wonder what you worried about the whole time. 

Lastly, you have to have faith in yourself. Trust that you will make the right choices at the right time. You don't have to know what the entire journey will look like, only where you plan to end up. As long as you believe in what you are doing, stand firm in your decision, and always take positive steps forward you will accomplish your goal.

For me, I look to others for inspiration. Before we bought an RV I read as much as I could about others who had tried it. Though what I read was not always comforting, seeing others success made me more confident about my own. When we decided to do doTERRA as a business it was not all the facts and figures on the business that sold me it was seeing the way it had changed other lives.

Somethings though you just have to trust in yourself to be up to the challenge. Quitting my job to focus on our doTERRA business, for example, was a big leap of faith. While I have met others that make more in a month with doTERRA than I did last year, we are not there yet.  However, we have been doing this doTERRA business for a little while now and we are earning money. Kayla and I were at a point where we needed to invest more of our time to make more money... still walking away from the 9 to 5 and the path I set for myself when I earned my Masters degree is a big leap of faith.

Change is hard, it is scary, and it is coming. Whatever your change is I hope you embrace it or at least make it as easy as possible. We have written quite a few posts on our changes so if you are looking for inspiration for a change of your own I hope you find some in our past posts.   

If you are looking to follow our path with the doTERRA business we have plenty of baby steps to help you to make that big change.   

Sign up for our email list to claim your free contact list and information on how we use it below. This simple tool will help you make the right changes to lead to your own successful doTERRA business. 

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Kicking ass with Keto

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Guys!! I did it, another milestone in my weight loss journey is... well, under my belt.

I stepped on my scale this morning, and then weighed myself again to make sure... I have reached 120 pounds lost.

I still have 80 pounds to go but feel really confident that I'll get there soon. At this rate, of being dedicated to keto for 1.2 years, I have averaged 8.6 pounds lost each month.

This is a little slower than the normal keto weight loss ratio. I have PCOS which makes it really hard to lose weight at all.

I'm going to bump up my efforts and try to make my monthly average for the remainder of my 200 pound goal 10 pounds per month.

That will mean:

  • more water
  • more fats 
  • less than 20 carbs per day
I know I can do it and truly appreciate your continued support!

Here's to setting goals and working your ass off, literally, to achieve them!

Our trip to the fair

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Last Saturday we were celebrating and decided to visit the San Diego County fair in Del Mar. Our doTERRA business has grown to a point that Robert will no longer have to work a regular 9-5 job. He will drive Uber 8-12 hours a week, during the morning while I am at work, and will tend to our growing doTERRA tribe in the afternoons. As our doTERRA business grows he will drive less Uber. The goal is to cut out the Uber altogether. However this new schedule is such a relief as we were having difficulties squeezing everything into our life. Now Robert will be able to focus more on our team and our family with this new found freedom.

Robert's very first job was at a fair, the Suffolk County Fair in New York. He was fourteen at the time. He was the errand boy who spent long nights blowing up all of the balloons and fetching things for the Carnies who ran the show. It is very fitting that we would visit the San Diego fair as we make this transition in our lives.

Image Credit
This had to be the biggest county fair I've ever been to. The area of this fair dedicated to food was larger than the entire county fair I attended each year growing up. Before we even made it off of the highway traffic was backed up for two exits because of all the other people in San Diego who chose to visit the fair on Saturday. As we pulled off the highway I reached for my bottle of Balance blend to make sure I stayed calm. I knew I would be nervous due to the sheer amount of people.

This year's fair theme was how sweet it is. There was an entire exhibit dedicated to fun facts and historical timelines of America's favorite candies. Complete with a life-sized playable candy land game that guided you through the crowds of people and highlighted each candy display. The photo above highlights a famous painting made completely out of Jelly Belly jelly beans. This was one of many amazing renditions of famous works recreated with candy.

This exhibit was amazing. It was one of many huge exhibits to be found. We had such a great time walking through the art exhibitions featuring all of the best artwork from the students of San Diego County. Some of these kids have amazing talent. We would have happily displayed a few of these amazing paintings in our home. There were rows and rows of artwork. We didn't even see them all.

There were also separate exhibits featuring local hand made wooden furniture. We found the perfect table for our dream home. A round table, seven feet in diameter, with a hand-carved solar system in the middle. We could picture ourselves and our doTERRA business leaders having dinner and working at this table. Beside of the wood working exhibit I stumbled upon my favorite exhibition featuring crystals and gemstones. There were so many types of crystals. Both in raw form and carved into amazing works of art. The coolest part of the crystal exhibit was the florescent cave. A dark room lit only by black-lights. This room had several rows of crystals to show what each one looked like under a black light. I never thought to examine my beloved crystals in this way. I was super excited about this.

We didn't ride any rides or eat any food. We simply observed. It was fantastic. We walked so much on this Saturday of celebration that when we got home I immediately reached for the Deep Blue Rub to soothe my aching muscles. I also applied lavender to my shoulders where I had a few spots of irritation from the sun.

It was truly amazing. We are really excited to make this a regular yearly part of our lives. Thank you for reading and for celebrating with us! We are excited for all of the new things to come!

Make the rest of your life the best of your life, starting now! -Kayla

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Record your affirmations

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Welcome back to #SelfcareSunday!

I have written before about the power our own voice has on our life. Our voice, thoughts, and belief about ourselves program our subconscious. I personally prefer a positive programming. If you prefer a negative version of this program I am unable to help you with that. ;) This blog post will detail the steps I have taken to make an affirmations list, record it on my phone and integrate it into my life.
First things first. What do you want out of life. Abundance? Happiness? Good health? Great, me too.

Write it down. Now take all of these feelings, experiences, people, and things that you want in your life and write a sentence for each one. You must write these sentences in the present tense. Do not use I will, I can, or I try. When you tell your subconscious that you will do something you are stating that you haven't done this thing yet. This will keep you in a pattern of hey I would like to do this but not yet. Here is an example:

Correct: I take positive steps to live a healthy life.
Incorrect: I will start taking positive steps to live a healthy life.

Now, take the list that you have written and either video tape yourself saying your affirmations or use the voice recorder on your phone. It doesn't have to be perfect (see my video below).

ACTION REQUIRED: Listen to this each morning while you drink your tea or coffee. Have a piece of paper close by. If a thought pops into your head while you are listening that distracts you from listening write a word that describes that thought so you can restart your recording and think about that fleeting thought later... if it is important enough.

Note: This can be as short or as long as you like. This is for you. You may record more than one or use this one until you have outgrown it and record another.

Here's my video recording:

Need help working through your affirmations? Let me know! I love to help others succeed!

Please let me know what you think in the comments. You can also connect with me on social media, using the pink buttons below to find my pages. Make sure to check out my events page for my live chat and in person event schedule. You can also schedule a wellness chat with me there! :)
Be well! -Kayla


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    Saturday, April 7, 2018

    This is a post I have wanted to write since 2012. One that I keep kicking around in my mind. It will be a long read but may shed some insight into why I care so deeply about natural wellness and spreading the message wherever I can.

    Two things led to my first steps on this journey.

    1. Terrible experiences with medication/doctors several times.
    2. Watching loved ones slowly fade away and suffer with life ending diseases. 
    I will start with #2. My great-grandparents were two of the most intelligent and hard working people I have ever known. They built their home with their own two hands, raised five amazing kids in it, and nurtured many grand-kids and great-grand kids from it. My great-grandfather owned a saw mill and was loved by many in our community. He was a World War Two Veteran that proudly supported his country and the troops. My great-grandmother was the right-hand (wo)man of Congressman Howard Coble for 14 years, secretary of the Davidson County genealogy association, President of the VFW/Women's Auxiliary and recognized in Washington for her work in collecting and compiling stories from over 160 World War Two Veterans on the 50th Anniversary of WW2. I could go on and on. I could list hundreds of things these two accomplished. They continue to inspire me to work towards my dreams through the memories I have of them. If I could have dinner with any person past or present it would be these two. 
    Dave and Connie Leonard - My GREAT-grandparents.

    My great-grandfather passed away from ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. To watch a hardworking man who always kept busy become confined to a chair or bed for the last years of his life was heart breaking. I was a pre-teen when he passed but I still remember how sharp his mind was long after his body quit functioning. I was 17 when my great-grandmother developed Alzheimer's. At first we could only tell because of small things like her ordering of several of the same magazine subscriptions or how she had paid her water bill so many times she would't need to pay it again for a few years. By the time I met my husband two years later she was well into Alzheimer's. 
    Connie Leonard, my Nana

    I couldn't comprehend how the most intelligent person I knew was literally loosing her mind and there was nothing I could do to help. Five years into her disease I had an assignment to complete in college. I was to write an investigative research paper on a disease of my choosing. Until this point I figured Alzheimer's was like Cancer; a reverse lottery where no one knew the real cause and if you were the unlucky winner you just had to deal with it. During my research I found peer reviewed articles and very lengthy scholarly research documents. I scoured, searched, and picked at the documents with a fine tooth comb. One of them stated that the link to Alzheimer's was a gene deficiency. There were ten papers to follow that one disproving the credibility of the study though. 

    After finding this and feeling like I was at a dead end I decided to change my search strategy. One of the first peer-reviewed articles to appear in the search results listed almost one hundred studies showing that the buildup of heavy metals and the hardening of the brain was the cause of Alzheimer's. From this article I researched every reference and followed up on the studies to see current progress. Sure-enough, heavy metals and brain hardening were the link. Unlike cancer cells, which are present in most of our bodies and waiting to be activated, Alzheimer's is a condition that we create because of what we consume. 

    This information led me down another rabbit hole. I thought how in the world did my Nana consume so many heavy metals that her brain hardened to the point of a condition like Alzheimer's? I started researching how heavy metals are consumed by humans. The results were terrifying and included: old water pipes, water filtration, cooking in aluminum pans, eating food from aluminum cans, drinking from aluminum cans, wearing deodorant with aluminum, and brushing teeth with fluoridated tooth paste along with many others.
    My Nana and I in 2003.

    Wait... I thought... if deodorant and toothpaste contain chemicals that are toxic to our well-being what other health and beauty products are less than healthy for us?

    I researched the ingredient list of toxic chemicals found in health and beauty products. I ran every single product I owned through the Skin Deep database and subsequently threw them all away. Had it not been for this one research assignment I would have never considered that our health and beauty products actually cause sickness and potentially death. I would have continued using the cherished brands of makeup that I paid way too much for and commercialized lotions/deodorants that everyone else used. 
    One of my first recipes on ApotheKayla

    This occurred at the beginning of 2011. I started my wellness journey with a mixture of baking soda and coconut oil. I used this mixture (in different containers of course) for toothpaste and deodorant. I washed my hair with chamomile and peppermint tea and conditioned it with vinegar. I had no idea that essential oils existed or that some companies refuse to put toxic chemicals into their products. I found essential oils during the summer of 2011 when Robert and I got lice from one of his nieces and I was totally against using the poison on my scalp. My mother had a friend who sold essential oils, she called her at 11:00 one night and asked if there were essential oils to get rid of lice. This friend proceeded to create a blend and met up with my mom to sell it to her that night. 

    The first time I smelt the aroma of these essential oils I felt like my soul woke up. I knew I had to have these oils in my life and that this was the missing piece I had been searching for. The oils my mother's friend sold were a little pricey and we were college students who didn't think we could afford them or that it mattered which oils we used. So I bought a starter kit from a random brand, with pretty labels off of Amazon. I started using these oils and started blogging about the recipes I was creating. This was the beginning of ApotheKayla. 

    Two months into using these oils I began developing a rash and severe sensitivity to them. By this point when I opened the bottle I felt almost agitated or like my whole body was an exposed nerve before I even put them on my skin. I decided to do a little research on the company whose oils I had been using and found out that they were not organic and should not be used on the skin. I was so shocked because my first experience with essential oils led me to believe that all oils were created equally and all oils would do the trick. 

    I had been using eucalyptus for kidney stone pain relief and still had a small vial of the original brand we received from my mother's friend. I sat at my desk and opened the small vial and inhaled the aroma. I did not feel agitated and decided to smell both of them for comparison. Sure enough the cheaper non-organic oil made me feel agitated when smelling it and the slightly more expensive organic oil did not. I decided at this point to start investing in the oils I could use. 

    Back to my journey... the first example I listed above has to do with the terrible doctor and medicinal experiences I had throughout my life.

    On numerous occasions I would go to the doctor complaining of severe stomach aches in my upper ribs or extreme cramping even when I was not on my cycle. For the severe stomach aches I was prescribed an anti-depressant because after several inconclusive tests the doctor told my mother I was faking it and just didn't want to go to school. Read more about that here. A few month's into the anti-depressants and one ultrasound later it was determined that I needed emergency surgery to remove a gal-bladder so full of stones it was likely to rupture. 
    Me at 13, helping repaint my great-grandparents home. A year prior to my gallbladder surgery.

    For the extreme stomach cramps I had several tests done including an MRI of the abdomen and all results were inconclusive. An investigative surgery revealed that I had endometriosis and a golf ball sized cyst on the outside of a Fallopian tube. The cyst was removed and I immediately started an experimental medication called Lupron. The doctor assured me that the Lupron, even though it would put me into early menopause with hot flashes and mood swings, would lessen the severity of the endometriosis. I was only supposed to receive six months worth of this medication but after it did not help was prescribed to two years of it. 

    As an adult, when researching the medication that I was prescribed at sixteen, I discovered that it was originally created to chemically castrate pedophiles and during testing on lab rats showed positive results with pre-endometrium cell reduction in female rats and prostate cancer in male rats. This medication began being used for prostate cancer and experimentally for endometriosis. I was never told that this medication would lessen my bone density or make my teeth fragile. I never knew that I needed to take another medication to increase calcium and other essential vitamins that this drug prevented my body from absorbing. Several lawsuits have been filled on doctors for prescribing it and on the company that created it (click here for a more detailed article). Some women who have had this medication never recover, many have even passed away due to complications from this medicine. I still have unexplained pain in my ribs, bouts of unexplained dizziness, random hot flashes, and trouble producing estrogen. 
    As of February 11, 2009, the total tally of reported adverse events to lupron/leuprolide since November 1, 1997, according to the FDA is as follows: 22,667 reported adverse events, with 651 reported deaths from lupron/leuprolide (read more).

    Fast forward to 2016 when I was diagnosed with Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS. An extremely large percentage of women who have endometriosis also have PCOS. I had most of the same symptoms at the time that I was diagnosed with endometriosis and I should have been tested for PCOS then. Apparently many doctors miss this in women.

    A few months before my PCOS diagnosis. At my heaviest weight.

    I have a very high pain tolerance but the doctors thought that I was like any other teenager complaining about period cramps when in fact my cramps were debilitating. If I was driving I had to pull over and turn off the car, curl up in the front seat and rock back and forth until the pain stopped. In school I would become clammy, experience a cold sweat, and was unable to even utter out call my mom because of my pain levels. I have dealt with a condition for twelve years without treatment because doctors did not believe me when I told them about my pain levels or that I really was only eating 1200 calories but could not loose weight.

    Holistic solutions are simple. I knew I had PCOS before ever being diagnosed. When you experience this much pain over a span of this many years you turn to Google often and end up with the same results. I did have to see a doctor to move forward with my diagnosis and treatment options. Once diagnosed I decided to refuse a life-long prescription, under my doctor's supervision, and try a holistic remedy first. This happened in October of 2016 and since then my blood levels have been great, my symptoms have decreased more than the doctors thought they would even on the prescription, and I am able to look forward with hope. I rely on doctors for ordering blood tests, scans, and treating illness I cannot remedy on my own.
    1.5 years after PCOS diagnosis. 100 lbs lost.
    If I have a common cold, stomach ache, cramps, etc I can turn to my holistic first aid kit saving time, money, and hassle. I would never tell you to go against doctors orders or to forgo seeing a doctor altogether. I will tell you that doctors are humans too. For a plus-sized woman a doctor will blame all conditions on weight and offer bariatric surgery. This my friends is not a solution I am willing to accept. I have to continuously push doctors to listen to me. I am incredibly in tune with my body and after they have run all the tests they can think of I will ask them yet again to run the one test that will find the issue I have been asking them to test for. If they refuse I will get a second opinion. This can be incredibly frustrating, heart-breaking, and ultimately a huge waste of time.

    If the doctor in 2004 had listened to my mom when she said, on my first visit, it seems to me that she is having gallbladder attacks and had given me an ultrasound I wouldn't have missed six months of school or been prescribed a seriously toxic anti-depressant. If the doctor who diagnosed me with endometriosis had run one more blood test to determine whether or not I had PCOS I may not have gained 200 pounds while eating 1200 calories a day. If the world was a better place where heavy metals were kept in building materials and out of health/wellness/and food storage my great-grandmother may not have passed away from Alzheimer's.

    There are a lot of ifs that I could live by each day. Many people I could be angry at and blame everything on. Instead I focus on the solutions. When I wake up each morning I am thankful for my ability to become better today than I was yesterday. I look to the example my great-grandparents set of a good hardworking life and I push forward towards my goals. I have pain to deal with and I have doctors to argue with but I never let that get the best of me. I take my essential oils with me wherever I go so I am always armed with solutions. I share my story with others who are also frustrated and help them feel empowered. I love that my experiences and years of research can help others to live a better life as well.
    A few weeks ago. Me feeling empowered and enjoying the journey.
    This was a really long blog post. I told you from the start it would be. I guess you can see now why it has taken me this long to write it. I want you to know that modern medicine should be relied upon but that you have the power to ask for a second opinion. You also have access to essential oils and holistic remedies that I wish I had known about years ago. If you want to schedule a wellness chat with me I would love to discuss your concerns and help you plan your first step into holistic wellness. I am severely passionate about empowering others with the knowledge I have.

    Please let me know what you think in the comments. You can also connect with me on social media, using the pink buttons below to find my pages. If you would like to schedule that wellness chat visit my events page.

    Thank you for reading and for being a part of my wellness journey.

    :) Be well! -Kayla

    Reaching your goals with baby steps

    Sunday, April 1, 2018

    Your comfort zone is a nice cozy place where you naturally prefer to remain. However, reaching your goals usually comes from stepping outside of your comfort zone. In this blog post I will discuss four baby steps you can take now that will help you overcome the fear of stepping outside of your comfort zone. All four items can be completed from your couch and in one sitting. You will need a few sheets of paper and 2-3 hours.

    1. Create a Goal Inventory:
    Make a list of your goals - from health to financial. Next to each item visualize how you will feel when you have achieved that goal and write it down only using the emotion attached. For example one of mine is: Traveling abroad. I could focus on how nervous I am to fly for the first time or how stressful the planning of this vacation would feel. Instead I focus on the positive aspects and list the emotions I will feel when I land in London for the first time: excited, accomplished, invigorated, and successful come to mind.

    2.Recognize the Road blocks:
    On another page start with the goal that will take the least effort. Now write the hurdles you will have to jump to accomplish that goal. What stands between where you are now and the finish line? Work your way from your easiest goal to your hardest goal. Once you have completed the list focus on the road blocks. Ask yourself: is this an actual road block or a fear I have that is getting in my way. I have found that when I create this list the hurdles I have to jump usually stem from inside myself. An example would be my oil business. My hurdles are: I don't know enough people, people will think I'm being pushy, people already buy them from drugstores or are a part of an oil team. ALL of those are mental and can be cleared.

    The easiest way to clear a road block is taking the logical approach. I could tell you about how positive self talk works wonders but I have already done that. Here we want to analyze and make note of whether the hurdle is real world hurdle or a mental hurdle. Then write down how someone you admire would overcome that, step by step. My example of hurdles in my oil business: I don't know enough people: (To protect identity I will use the name Nikka) My role model Nikka would either reach out to her contacts and ask if they have family or friends who could benefit from natural wellness or would go out into the community and meet people. People would think I am being pushy: Nikka would honor the gift of the oils and her ability to share them. She would approach people from a place of love rather than a place of desperation and let her positive experiences with the oils lead the conversation. People already buy them from drugstores or are a part of an oil team: Nikka would say "How do you know that?" and if they are going to buy them why couldn't they buy them from you. She would also remind me about why I choose the oil company I work for which totally boils down to quality.

    3. Make One Small Change:
    On a separate page list out the steps you will have to take to achieve your goals. Look into the next week or month and plan when you will take those steps. Try a step a day even. Consistent action will always get you farther than full speed ahead. (To protect identity I will use the name Joanne) My mentor Joanne reminded me of the 20 mile story a few days ago. Two teams were racing across the Alaskan wilderness; one team decided to go as far as they possibly could each day while the other team decided to go for 20 miles each day whether or not the weather cooperated or they felt good or bad. In the end the team who decided to go full speed ahead fell apart and never finished the race. The team who decided on an achievable 20 miles per day won.

    Consistent action turns into habit and with good habits we can achieve any goal we set our minds on. Each small step will create momentum and as long as you have decided to move forward this momentum will continue to build on itself.

    4. Find an accountability partner:
    Write down that person in your life who inspires you. Write out the question you plan to ask them so when you get them on the phone your nerves do not take over. A script will help you power through your fears. Here is an example:
    I really feel that you are taking positive steps to reach your goals. I am working on doing the same. Would you mind we shared our goals with each other and then kept in close contact about our progress?
    You will be surprised at how willing others are to work together on accomplishing goals even if their goal is not mirroring yours.

    So... do you think you can step out of your comfort zone long enough to take these four baby steps? Are you excited to see the progress you make?

    Please let me know what you think in the comments. You can also connect with me on social media, using the pink buttons below to find my pages. Use the gray buttons under the post to share on your social media pages. Tag me in the post and I will re-share or re-tweet! -Be well! Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest About ApotheKayla

    4 Powerful Self-Care Habits

    Sunday, March 25, 2018

    A habit is simply an action. After a month of taking those actions they become a habit. Are we forming positive habits that are nourishing or negative actions that are damaging? In this post I will offer four powerful self care habits that everyone should start using yesterday!

    Find your bliss:
    My bliss is blogging and helping beginners start their holistic journey. I feel centered when even one person says hey you make that seem simple I think I will try to make that recipe or integrate that oil into my life.

    Your bliss may be sewing, running, volunteer work, or being creative. If you don't have one you should definitely explore different types of hobbies until you find that one thing (two would be cool as well) that sets your soul on fire. No - binge watching that series you love is not bliss. I have those shows as well but that is considered rest. Bliss is something that feels like an escape even if someone else would consider it work. Tell me about your bliss in the comment section.

    Positive affirmation card.

    I use both affirmation cards and an app called Affirmations on my phone.

    The point of using an affirmation is giving your mind something positive to contemplate throughout the day. Saying uplifting phrases to ourselves throughout the day is a great way to boost not only our moral but our self esteem, productivity, and thought process.

    The affirmations app on the phone is free. I have it pinned to the notifications bar and my home-screen. Sometimes the day is so busy that I don't even notice they are there. That being said I always notice them when  I need to see the message. It is a great way to stop and say yes self, I do know how to heal or I am attracting abundance into my life. Remember what you think about you bring about.

    Breathe in love, breathe out love.

    Deep Breaths:
    It only takes a few moments to stop what you are doing and take 5-10 long deep breaths. When you do this use this trick to make each breath more meaningful. During your inhale think breathe in *insert word below* during your exhale think breathe out *insert word from below*. You may use your own words the table below contains a few of my favorites. Typically I will use the last two. I do not want to add any additional fear or toxicity to the world but sometimes I will use them if they seem right.

    On inhale
    On exhale
    Breathe in love
    Breathe out fear
    Breathe in healing
    Breath out toxicity
    Breathe in love
    Breathe out love
    Breathe in light
    Breathe out light

    Essential oils:
    Each morning I add a drop of grounding blend to the bottom of my feet, a drop of frankincense under my tongue and a cellular vitality blend to my lumbar area. Throughout the day I will add wild orange to my water for focus or lemon if I feel the need to detox my system. There are so many simple ways you could incorporate even one drop of an essential oil into your life and make a habit out if it that truly benefits your well being; mentally, physically, and emotionally.

    Want more info on essential oils or where I purchase mine? Send me an email.

    Which of these habits are you excited to start? Please let me know what you think in the comments. You can also connect with me on social media, using the pink buttons below to find my pages. Use the gray buttons under the post to share on your social media pages. Tag me in the post and I will re-share or re-tweet! -Be well!

    What is Keto?

    Saturday, March 3, 2018

    There are always new fad diets out there. What makes the ketogenic diet any different? This is my story...
    This post contains my understanding of the Ketogenic diet, my experiences thus far, and a quick view of what I eat on a weekly basis.
    First I want to let you know that while this diet is super powerful I have to use my internal power to stick with it or else I will not lose weight! Over the last 15 months I have lost 100 pounds, 80 pounds of which I lost in the last 9 months. I have also been unable to exercise due to medical issues with my left knee. Nonetheless, I was super determined to lose weight whether or not I was able to exercise. This diet came highly recommended by my endocrinologist. My first thought was to let it slip in one ear and out of the other but her words were you can basically lose weight without exercising or taking weight loss pills and do so at an incredible rate. This is when I became interested!

    What is Keto? 

    Normal Diet: Whether you are on the low carb diet, the paleo diet, the vegan diet, or the junk food diet (not a real thing) your body is fueled by glucose. On the Ketogenic Diet your body is fueled by Ketones.

    Okay Google: What is Glucose:

    Okay Google: What is Ketosis?

    In order to get your body into ketosis you have to adjust your diet so that you are eating the proper macronutrient (aka Macro) ratio of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Each person will be slightly different. You can purchase keto strips to test the amount of ketones in your blood or urine but I have never done that. At first I couldn't afford to spend the extra for the testing strips and now I pretty much know when my body is in ketosis based on what I have eaten. I used to use the My Fitness Pal app by Underarmor daily, for the first 8 months. Now, because I eat the same things daily I will refer to the app when I have a question about the macro's in a particular food/recipe. Below is a chart representing the daily macro's I strive for.

    Kayla's daily macro goal.

    Perks of being in ketosis:
    Rapid weight loss.
    Faster, clearer thinking.
    Ability to focus.
    Wake up and fall asleep easier.
    Feel like I have abundant energy, most days.

    The ONLY downside is:
    Not eating all the delicious carbohydrate laden foods. Seriously when walking down the bread aisle at the store I can smell the carbs through the plastic. During those first five months, sorry if this is TMI, and on the first two days of my period are the only times that the sight or smell of carbs really bothers me. Usually I have snacks prepped and special deserts that are totally keto friendly. As long as I am prepared I can go to any get together and have friends over who *gasp* eat pizza and cake right in front of me!!

    My experience

    If any, or all, of this seems overwhelming don't worry. I totally feel you! When I first started with this diet 15 months ago I thought: Oh I'll just focus on eating less than 50 carbs per day. With that I lost some weight, but I also felt super groggy and had a hard managing cravings.

    Photo on the left taken just before PCOS diagnosis.
     Photo on the right taken around 80 lbs lost

    During that time I also did research into cyclical keto, basically a medically recommended diet where someone will go into ketosis for a few days and then out for a few days. Each case of cyclical was different but I thought: hmm I'll cycle keto on the weekends.

    Little did I know that every time I went out of ketosis in order to get back into ketosis I had to go through the keto-flu again. So every Monday when I got back to work and I was back on my diet I felt terrible; Dizzy, fatigued, totally unable to focus, and just out of it. After six months into the diet when I had managed to lose about 20 pounds I felt like I had to really buckle down and stick to it.

    Over the last nine months I have lost 80 pounds. I stick to my diet, with one exception which I will explain later, and can totally tell if I am the slightest bit out of ketosis.

    Learning when to eat throughout the day, what to eat throughout the day, and which recipes kept me from feeling like I was missing out on something was the only way I was able to kick-start this diet.

    The effect of cheating on this diet, for me, is unlike cheating on any other diet. Because the Keto diet helps me to regulate my anxiety cheating means anxiety attacks. On Christmas of 2017 I decided to eat an apple fritter and pizza. Less than an hour later I was slathering on calming essential oils and trying not to go into full force panic attack. It took going through the keto flu for several days to get my anxious feelings under control again.

    When my cabinets are stocked with keto friendly options and I use essential oils to help manage cravings I am able to make it through any day that I would rather have a donut than cheese cubes.

    My routine

    I use my keto snacks, recipes, and essential oils in combination to succeed on this diet.

    Essential oils:
    Grounding blend: I use this daily, as soon as I wake up on the bottom of my feet and throughout the day when I feel frazzled. The right state of being is super important to help manage cravings.

    Citrus blend:
    I add one drop of citrus blend to the bottom of a glass or stainless steel canister then fill with water. While I drink a lot of water anyways the citrus blend makes the water taste like an orange-vanilla ice-cream pop and is a great way to kick sweet cravings.

    I apply one drop of this under my tongue each morning for general overall health.

    Cellular vitality blend:
    I apply this to the small of my back and behind my knees to support cellular repair. I have noticed a huge decrease in muscle/bone pain since I began using this daily. Damaged cells are the most common source of pain.

    Soothing rub:
    I use this blend on achy muscles. Being unable to exercise leaves my muscles feeling tense. This rub is also helpful for those of you who are able to exercise when you feel the burn! I am excited to be in that group again!

    Favorite recipes:
    I plan to share some of my favorite recipes on ApotheKayla.

    Keto Frappe
    Sweets: Keto Frappe, Keto Freezer Fudge, tic-tacs (.5 carbs per tic tac great for strong sweet craving control on the go), whipped cream ice cream (higher in carbs but eaten in moderation its fine).

    Keto Freezer Fudge
    Snacks: Nights/weekends. Beef snack bites, turkey snack bites, pecans, sunflower seeds, pickles, cheese.

    Bacon wrapped chicken
    Dinners: Most of my carb intake happens at dinner. Some of my favorites are: Bacon wrapped chicken, stir fry (without the rice), tacos, zoodles with spaghetti sauce and meatballs, breakfast, pork chops and green beans, stuffed peppers (without the rice), carne asada taco salad (wihout the tortilla bowl), and chicken salad.

    Again I plan to share some of these recipes on the blog and will add links to the name of the recipe here when I do!

    Daily meals: This may not work for everyone but Monday through Friday I eat the exact same things for breakfast, snacks, and lunch. I space out my eating by about three hours to make sure I am never feeling hungry. I have two Jack-link beef sticks for breakfast, then pepper jack cheese cubes for a snack, lunch consists of turkey, cheese, and olive oil mayo rolled/cut into bite sized pieces - without the bread. This combo satisfies my hunger and with it I have only had around 4 carbs by the time I leave work.

    For me taking the complication out of the daily meal prep helps me to focus on other things. It makes my grocery list super simple and I always know that what I take in my lunch bag will keep me feeling satisfied. To be completely honest with you all I would totally rather have a mostly plant based diet, however plants have a lot of carbs and my main health priority right now is to loose as much weight as possible.

    Closing thoughts:
    If you are thinking about starting this diet I say go for it. It is recommended by doctors for several conditions such at PCOS, Epilepsy, and diabetes. I offer keto coaching where we can phone/video chat about setting up your daily routine, shopping list, and finding recipes, and I will be there to help you set goals, message with you on days that you’re feeling a little weak, and cheer you on during days of success!

    My goals:
    I have another 100 pounds to loose. I am ready to get back to yoga, hiking, bicycle riding, and strength training.

    Be well,


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